Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 26th 2015 Contents RICHARD LORD
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley led
his MPs in a dramatic walkout from Par-
liament yesterday, moments after Oppo-
sition MP Colm Imbert described Gov-
ernment s motion of no confidence against
Rowley as having "no purpose, empty,
vacuous, tenuous (and) absurd."
The motion was presented by leader of
Government business, Housing and Urban
Development Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal,
who had said Tuesday that during the debate
"information will come that can cause the
Opposition to dissolve itself on Wednesday
But that was not to be, as during his con-
tribution Imbert asked legislators: "What
is all this tralala about? This motion is
frivolous and vexatious. This motion is
childish. This motion has no basis."
He then said he was not about to remain
in the "Parliament to continue this foolish
debate. I am leaving now."
At the same time, Chief Whip Marlene
Mc Donald said "yeah" with a smile on her
face. Other Opposition MPs, including Row-
ley, who was seated, started to pack their
things for the walkout.
Government MPs looked surprised and
shouted across the floor: "Shame! Shame!"
But Imbert still had the floor. He said:
"You could say what you want. Whatever
you have to say, say it outside."
Mc Donald shouted to the Government
MPs as she left: "Goodbye, goodbye."
Imbert then raised his tone: "Mr Speaker,
if they name man, if you name man, come
outside! Don t stay inside... a bunch of cow-
ards. I am gone from here."
The shouting match did not stop there
but was inaudible as both sides shouted at
House Speaker Wade Mark then called
on the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs
Prakash Ramadhar to begin his contribution
in the debate.
The walkout caused an interview being
conducted in the corridor by Moonilal to
be temporarily stopped as the Opposition
approached his location.
"This is outrageous... abandoning the
Parliament after people voted for you to
come to the Parliament to discuss the issues,"
Moonilal said in response to the Opposition
He said he was calling on citizens "to
abandon the PNM if that was the reckless
conduct we can expect."
With nobody on the Opposition benches,
the debate was adjourned at 6.07 pm to
April 8 but the House could not continue
with other business because of the walk-
out.Just over a year ago, in February 2014,
the Opposition also walked out of Parliament
during the wind up of the debate on the
Dog Control (Amendment) Bill. The walkout
stemmed from an allegation against animal
behaviouralist Kristel Ramnath.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley yesterday
said the decision to have a motion of no confidence
against him was an act of panic by the Prime Min-
ister, who was committed to terrorising David
West, a key witness for Rowley in a defamation
matter brought by former attorney general Anand
He made the comment during a press conference
by the PNM minutes after its MPs walked out of
the Parliament during the debate.
"The PM has been relentlessly, including today,
seeking to destroy Mr West," Rowley said, adding
the Government had used the Parliament "in a most
frightening way to terrorise and discredit" West.
He said, however, that the PM must answer ques-
tions about the Section 34 fiasco.
"Based on what has happened here today, we are
now convinced that this is all about the quality of
David West s testimony in court."
Rowley said citizens must now ask themselves:
"Why is the Prime Minister working so hard in
defence of Anand Ramlogan?"
He immediately provided an answer, saying: "The
reason is that David West s testimony, if it survives
in the court, then it wold mean that the Government
of Kamla Persad-Bissessar should have been out of
office since August (2012) when it proclaimed the
controversial section of the Administration of Justice
(Indictable Proceeding) Bill 2011."
He said that provision would have allowed busi-
nessmen Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson,
who were wanted for extradition to the US, to escape
the court hearing about the matter relating to the
airport development project.
Rowley said Persad-Bissessar should say whether
she was aware of any attempt to have West withdraw
his testimony in the extradition of the two men.
He said the PM must also say "whether she had
any part to do with the allegations (of witness tam-
pering) against the AG because the PM s behaviour
is curious and frightening."
He said West, in his witness statement, was saying
that as soon as the case was closed at the Privy
Council, the two were "in the hands of the police
and ready for extradition and he gave those instruc-
tions." He said West was also "alleging that the
former attorney general intervened and instructed
him to rescind those instructions so that the police
wouldn t take action, which allowed them to go to
court and restart the challenge which continues up
to this day."
He added: "He is going to say in the court, as he
said in the affidavit, that not withstanding those
instructions from the Attorney General, he continued
to monitor what was happening and he was pointing
out that conduct of the matter in the court was
unusual, where the State, through the Attorney
General, did not raise certain objections that ought
to have been raised.
"Instead of objecting to bail, the Attorney General s
lawyers took a neutral position in the court."
He insisted: "This is all about Section 34 and the
person who is in the middle of this is, who is respon-
sible for this and has to be accountable for this is
Rowley said the PM used the Parliament to create
an administration of Justice Bill and "she misled
the Parliament, gave us assurances that certain things
will not be done, then she led the Cabinet to extract
things and to pass them into law by proclamation
"Today, we accuse the Government of using the
Parliament not just to terrorise a witness, but using
the Parliament in the furtherance of a crime. A
crime that is the most heinous in the history of
T&T, Section 34." (RL) (See pages A5, A9 and
Empty and absurd
ATTACK ON WEST
Earlier, Imbert told legislators the
intent of the motion was "to discredit
the credibility of David West.
"That is the inescapable conclusion,"
Imbert said, prompting loud desk-
thumping on the Opposition benches.
West, who is the director of the Police
Complaints Authority, is a key witness
for Rowley in a private defamation
matter against former attorney general
West has claimed that the then AG
had asked him to withdraw his witness
statement in the matter relating to the
unsuccessful extradition of
businessmen Steve Ferguson and
Ishwar Galbaransingh to the US.
Imbert said West's 12-page witness
statement made no reference to
"This witness statement is about the
former attorney general. This witness
statement speaks about things that, if
they are true, are awful, Mr Speaker,"
Imbert told legislators that West, in
his witness statement, "speaks to being
approached by the Attorney General and
told to rescind instructions given to the
police to arrest Ferguson and
Galbaransingh and to have nothing
more to do with the extradition of those
two gentlemen. That is what's in there."
He claimed the motion was brought
because the Government did not want
the population to know the contents of
West's witness statement.
The Government motion claimed
Rowley had a duty to inform the Prime
Minister before West's appointment
that he was witness in the defamation
matter brought by Ramlogan.
It also claimed that Rowley was
biased because he agreed to the PM's
nomination of West for the PCA post.
The law provides for the Prime Minister
to consult with the Opposition Leader
on the nomination for the PCA post.
Imbert said all Rowley did was to
agree to Persad-Bissessar's nomination.
Rowley: It was
a Section 34
act of panic
Imbert on no confidence motion:
business in the
the motion of
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