Housing Minister Dr Keith Rowley said yesterday if he had
struck Fzyabad MP Chandresh Sharma, the mark from the blow
would not be where the Opposition member claimed he had been
On Wednesday, UNC MP Kamla Persad-Bissessar said Sharma was
warded at Port-of-Spain General Hospital after Rowley allegedly
shoved Sharma during a heated verbal exchange between the
Persad-Bissessar also claimed Rowley threw a teacup, a cordless
phone and a remote control at Sharma.
During yesterdays post-Cabinet press conference at Whitehall,
Rowley acknowledged he and Sharma had a heated verbal exchange
in the Parliament tea room on Wednesday afternoon, but denied
hitting or throwing a teacup at Sharma.
He said if Sharma was, in fact, hospitalised, he was not responsible.
want to make it abundantly clear that during the verbal exchange
with Mr Sharma yesterday, no blows passed between us. He did
not strike me and I did not strike him.
saw a picture in the newspapers ...with MP Sharma pointing
to the right side of his face, showing where he was struck
by a teacup. I did not throw the teacup.
didnt. He broke the government teacup. Im a right-hander.
If I had, in fact, hit MP Sharma in his face, he will not
be pointing at that side of his face.
Speaking calmly, Rowley said he would seek legal advice on
whether he had been slandered by Persad-Bissessar and Opposition
Chief Whip Ganga Singh, who said the Government had gone from
verbal to physical abuse.
He said he would also contact Speaker Barry Sinanan for adjudication
on parliamentary privilege concerning the verbal exchange
he had with Sharma.
Sinanan, speaking after the opening of the law term yesterday,
said he was very concerned about the incident and would deal
with the matter, should it be raised before him in Parliament
He said he had tried to contact Sharma, but calls to his cellphone
Rowley said it was Sharma who verbally abused and threatened
him with physical violence and broke the teacup.
He said their verbal exchange began at around 1 pm Wednesday,
when he was sitting in the TV room of the tearoom discussing
cricket and relaxing with Opposition MPs Roodal Moonilal and
Sharma entered the room and sat opposite him. Rowley said
he mentioned that he had seen Sharmas comments in the
newspapers, describing Governments assistance to hurricane-ravaged
Grenada as a racist strategy to bring Grenadians to T&T
to vote for the ruling PNM.
said to the gentleman why is it that even in a moment of tragedy
you have to reduce it to race? Why is it that on every single
issue you have to find a racial component to it?
gentleman started to abuse me obscenely, calling me a number
of obscene types of racist, and at that stage I responded
to him and we had a very heated, very short, but very agitated
Rowley confirmed that Moonilal intervened and went with him
outside the tea room, where they were joined in conversation
by Persad-Bissessar, who arrived after the event.
this arising out of a verbal incident is a political conspiracy
for political gain and it does not matter whose reputation
is damaged, he added.
He said he had not been contacted by the police concerning
Rowley and Trade & Industry Minister Kenneth Valley said
the allegations made by Persad-Bissessar and Singh against
Rowley were the result of a UNC caucus meeting held on Wednesday
Junior National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds, who was
also present at the ceremonial opening, believes Sharma exaggerated
room clash appals Chamber
for quick police action