Former minister encouraging people “to harass and threaten me,” Trinidad PM says

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Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley Saturday described the behaviour of a former government minister as “dangerous and reckless” after he allegedly made public his telephone number “and encouraged and incited persons to harass and threaten me.”

In a statement, Rowley said that Devant Magaraj, who served as a minister in the former People’s Partnership administration headed by Kamla Persad Bissessar, had also published the telephone number on the social media.

“For very many years, I have maintained the same telephone number. Upon assuming office I continued to keep that same number and used it effectively for private and public business. Very many of you members of the public have used that number, appropriately, in your moments of need or simply to wish me well on a daily basis,” Rowley said in the statement.

He said that Maharaj had obtained the telephone number on Friday “and has maliciously published it in the widest possible way on social media and further he has encouraged and incited persons to harass and threaten me.”

“Our country being what it is and containing enough unfortunates to be guided by the likes of Mr Devant Maharaj, I have been the subject not only of abuse but of threatening behaviour which warranted the involvement of the Commissioner of Police.”

Rowley in his statement titled “To all the decent right thinking people of Trinidad and Tobago,” said as a result “of this act of gross misconduct and in my desire to serve you in a sane and sober manner I regret that I will be discontinuing the use of the number that you might have known and used at some time in the past.

“I am saddened by this because I always felt connected to you just as an ordinary citizen whose phone number was widely known and available to the responsible public but this being the times in which we live and the technology available to the lowlifes like Mr Maharaj I have no choice but to access and use another number which you will become familiar with in the normal decent way.”

Rowley said he trusts that Trinidad and Tobago “never becomes so barren that there is an absence of leadership in all quarters, especially the political arena, where rogue elements who try to drag us down to their base levels can be roundly condemned,” adding “I so do.”

Earlier, National Security and Minister of Communication, Stuart Young, in a separate statement, said that the publication by Maharaj of the personal contact information of Prime Minister Rowley “is an all-time low and worthy of criminal investigation.

“He has continued inciting people to use the Prime Minister’s information to, at a minimum, harass the Prime Minister and at a maximum, expose him to harm,” Young said, adding that Maharaj has been engaging in “despicable and dangerous behaviour for some time now”.

Maharaj has not responded to the allegations made against him.