HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh alleged activist Devant Maharaj is a tool of Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and working in the vein of Cambridge Analytica by leaking the cellphones numbers of Cabinet Ministers. Deyalsingh made his allegations speaking to Newsday at a senior citizens luncheon he held yesterday for his constituents.
Maharaj flatly denied any of those alleged links.
“I’m not familiar with Cambridge Analytica. I challenge Terrence Deyalsingh to prove it, because I got his number from him when we were in the Senate together.” He accused the minister of falsehood. On the claim he was doing Persad-Bissessar’s bidding, Maharaj said, “I work for no-one. I’m a member of the UNC and Kamla is my political leader but I am outside the pale of the whip. I am not in the House nor am I on the UNC executive.” Newsday asked about Deyalsingh’s claim that Maharaj’s release of phone numbers was a technique known as data-dumping touted by Cambridge Analytica and designed to overload and crash a system. “The PNM system of governance has already crashed,” Maharaj quipped. He said his activities were simply an attempt to make the Government more responsive to citizens, given the former had wanted office. “This is direct democracy.” Maharaj said just yesterday morning alone he had got four or five calls from citizens seeking to get help from the Government but facing blank walls of bureaucracy. Recalling a woman trying to get her child back into school, he said he had helped her contact Education Minister Anthony Garcia who had indeed then put her on to someone to genuinely try to help her. Maharaj said his exposure of numbers was not designed to embarrass anyone.