Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 28th 2015 Contents A22
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, March 28, 2015
Midway into Wednesday s Parlia-
ment debate on the Govern-
ment s no-confidence motion against
Opposition leader Keith Rowley, PNM
MPs got the walkout message in little
rustle of activity occurring surreptitiously
along the PNM bench.
That was, to walk when PNM MP
Colm Imbert had finished his showy act,
dismissing the motion. Message received,
said was done with the red-garbed troop
leaving the Government solo in the
Chamber---but determined to carry on
debate another date, April 8 to be exact.
When, the PNM will again boycott the
Parliament, PNM s Imbert says.
The motion based on issues shadowing
Rowley concerning Police Complaints
Authority director David West was also
clearly part of Government s election
strategy to deal with his leadership,
querying, as it also did "other reckless
acts" on his part .
In aiming for the full spectrum, the
PP s strategy however backfired on sev-
eral counts due in part to PNM s sur-
prise walkout---a tactic also used by ILP s
Jack Warner before---but more so, the
doings by one of its own MPs.
Apart from PNM s departure, PP
stocks may suffer backlash from PP MP
Vernella Alleyne-Toppin s contribution
which in attempting to examine Rowley
deeper, brought more of the personal
rather than professional into the Parlia-
mentary realm, a strike against the value
her contribution may have held. It also
compounded concerns that Govern-
ment s use of the Parliament was
weighted by its own interest somewhat
more than the public s.
Though it may have been in synch
with the motion s content which was to
examine Rowley---and even though
House Speaker Wade Mark declared all
gloves "seem to be off for this debate,"
Alleyne-Toppin s phrasing and delivery of
the anecdotal background she employed,
also worked against the objective.
The PP therefore may have won and
lost certain stratas of the female vote
within a week via the inconsistencies
involved between Rowley s recent "kyat"
comments and Alleyne-Toppin s "rape"
commesse which could affect perception
of PP s female-friendly profile and the
Government s judgment in strategising.
Initially unbending on the "kyat"
issue, Rowley (clearly on internal urging)
subsequently apologised. Some female
PNMites had privately deplored the
remarks, but publicly pointed to Persad-
Bissessar s "pipe" remarks years ago,
pre-PP. However Rowley s about-face
confirmed his handlers would have con-
vinced him that aspiring to the same
level as Persad-Bissessar s "pipe" would-
n t have assisted PNM s governance bid.
Emulating Rowley s apology, Alleyne-
Toppin however stood her ground on
questions which the PNM replied to yes-
terday with further claims.
Alleyne-Toppin, as Rowley s fellow
Tobagonian, may have been a politically
expedient instrument for this particular
debate (especially since she s among MPs
tipped to be out) but her contribution
overshot the political mark---a fact con-
firmed by mixed and non-support from
some PP colleagues.
Lost amid the controversy were gains
the PP could have made from the land-
scape of the PNM bench in Wednesday s
debate. That ranged from the fact that
PNM leadership didn t seem comfortable
enough to notify some MPs of the walk-
out until just before it happened, that
they avoided possibility of a conscience
vote by "dictating" the walkout action,
plus perception that Rowley isn t easily
given to character scrutiny, why, and the
implications for the sort of Prime Minis-
ter he might be if that s actually so.
(Gone but not to be forgotten: Imbert s
cameo, striving for "fierce," but showing
as funny mix of anger and extravagant
The situation can also have repercus-
sions on PP s Tobago election campaign
since the sister isle has already proven
unforgiving toward the PP.
And how the next leg of debate---and
PP s strategy to salvage its play---on April
8 also remains to be seen. But the Gov-
ernment cannot continue debate ad
infinitum, in PNM s absence since that
would confirm use of the Parliament for
PP business rather than people s business.
The political tit for tat confirms a pro-
tracted election campaign period truly
under way. After chipping away at Row-
ley s legal adviser, Faris Al-Rawi, the
Prime Minister has also hinted of allega-
tions against another PNM cornerstone
(not Marlene Coudray, she says). Return
flank fire has come from former AGs
John Jeremie and Ramesh Lawrence
Maharaj and labour rumbling has also
Tobago bacchanal. But this can hardly
overshadow last Monday s events when
gridlock was the secondary story to
"police brutality," a smell akin to what
martial law might be like, hung in the
air and with deeply disturbing---but per-
fectly legal---ease entry to the capital was
cut off and Public T&T was put on
That the dangerous precedent occurred,
sends worrying signals to Government
who must examine what shortcoming in
its watch could have allowed this and the
implications for systems. For the Opposi-
tion, it can only hold cold comfort on
what will have to be grappled with, if
elections change the political landscape.
PP/PNM NO CONFIDENCE
DEBATE---WHO BOMBED, OR NOT
Beyond the bounds of decency
It was bad enough when Dr Rowley made his infamous
"cyat" comment on a political platform, recently. What has
followed from the Government is far worse than anything
we have ever seen before in politics in T&T.
In their continuing efforts to demonise Dr Rowley, the
Kamla Persad-Bissessar-led PP Government has plunged
to depths of nastiness previously unknown in my beloved
It started with Dr Moonilal's utterly vile comments
about Dr Rowley on the PP's Monday night (March 23)
platform together with a banner stating "keep your chil-
dren away from Dr Rowley."
It was followed by the most sickening display in our Par-
liament when the Government used a Tobagonian (Mrs
Vernella Alleyne-Toppin) to launch an excoriating attack
against Dr Rowley (also a Tobagonian).
The reference, in Parliament, to Dr Rowley's dead
mother went way beyond the bounds of decency and ac-
The allegation of rape, if uttered outside of Parliament,
may have resulted in a lawsuit for slander.
Do not be fooled. Everything that is said on a political
platform and in Parliament is approved by this Prime Min-
ister and her inner sanctum.
Is the Government of Mrs Persad-Bissessar so desper-
ate to stay in power that they can find no other way to
highlight their accomplishments than by demonising Dr
Does the population remember the woman, who, on the
eve of elections in 2002, was trotted out by the then UNC
opposition as allegedly having a child with then Prime Min-
ister Mr Patrick Manning?
What a very sad time in our history, then and now.
Where are we going, people? Where are we going?
Linus F Didier
Hunting destroys what
makes us unique
On the one hand we promote our country as being a nat-
uralist's paradise and boast of the richness of our flora and
fauna, while on the other we seem prepared to accept the
continued depletion of our stocks of wildlife through hunt-
ing and trapping as well the ruination of habitat resulting
from indiscriminate logging and quarrying in our forests
and wild places.
So we are destroying the very assets that help to make
us unique and special in the Caribbean archipelago.
We have a simple choice to make: We place a perma-
nent ban on hunting including the trapping of wild birds and
so conserve the thing that makes us truly outstanding in a
Caribbean context, or we run the risk of ultimately becom-
ing just another sea, sand and sex Caribbean tourist desti-
nation, limping along on a Carnival crutch.
Alex de Verteuil (ex-hunter)
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