Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 8th 2015 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Friday, May 8, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 07TH MAY, 2015
Opposition People s National Movement
(PNM) MPs will not attend the House of
Representatives from today---and contin-
uing for the remainder of the term until
June 17---until the Government rescinds
the suspension of Opposition Leader Dr
Keith Rowley, party chairman Franklin
Khan said yesterday.
At a media briefing at Balisier House,
Port-of-Spain, Khan detailed the PNM s
upcoming action following Wednesday s
suspension of Rowley by majority Govern-
This resulted from a motion of censure
against Rowley concerning his May 20, 2013
presentation of purported emails, alleged
to have been exchanged by the Prime Min-
ister and senior cabinet members regarding
a multi-pronged criminal conspiracy on the
Section 34 issue. The Government presented
experts confirmation that the emails were
Yesterday, the Integrity Commission in
a letter to Fixin T&T s Kirk Waithe stated
it was in the final stages of considering a
number of documents related to the Email-
gate investigation and would be replying on
it very shortly. The police probe of the issue
is still on going.
The PNM held an emergency General
Council meeting yesterday to determine its
response on Rowley s suspension which the
party has deemed "obscene."
"The Council instructed MPs of the
House of Representatives to withdraw from
parliamentary debates starting May 8 (today)
and continuing thereafter if necessary until
the Government rescinds Dr Rowley s sus-
pension," Khan said.
Khan said MPs would boycott the Par-
liament, but PNM Senators would continue
to attend Senate so special majority bills
would have Opposition attention.
He said there are only five more weeks
to the term and the Government would pass
any bills with their Lower House majority
in any event.
"It had to be a calculated call, we couldn t
sit and take this abuse."
He added the PNM had a duty to show
its dissent on the unprecedented action of
the Government in suspending a political
leader "on the cusp of a political election
victory and this is the best way to show it.
We ll take the battle to the public."
Khan said the PNM would be taking the
issue to the public platform accompanied
by a call for holding of general elections
He said the PNM s leadership has also
been mandated to take "further action as
appropriate, including approaching the
courts, to "meet the threats to the political
leader and nation."
According to the law, a constituency that loses
its MP in the fifth year of the parliamentary term
has to remain unrepresented.
Political analysts speaking on the suspension
of Diego Martin West MP from the House on
Wednesday night had the same view of the mat-
ter.Dr Hamid Ghany said the Constitution says a
bye-election cannot be called in the fifth year of
the parliamentary term but only within the first
That s the reason D Abadie/Omeara has been
unrepresented since the resignation of former
sports minister Anil Roberts in July last year, Ghany
"D Abadie/Omeara has been without a repre-
sentative since last year. The Constitution says
any vacancy that arises in the fifth year cannot
Ghany said Diego Martin West would be without
a MP for only a shorter while until Parliament
dissolves next month.
Dr Bishnu Ragoonath, agreeing, added, "If it
could apply to D Abadie/Omeara, it could apply
to Diego Martin West.
"As you enter into the fifth year, there s no need
(to fill the vacancy)."
As for whether Parliament could operate without
an opposition leader, Ghany said the PNM did it
in 1971 when they won all 36 seats.
It was only when Roy Richardson crossed the
floor that he became opposition leader from 1971
to 1972, he recalled.
He said an opposition leader must be one who
is not supporting the Government, has the majority
support of opposition members and is willing to
"If the PNM decides nobody is going to take
up the post, the only other person eligible is Inde-
pendent Liberal Party leader Jack Warner.
"The question is, is Warner willing?"
According to a newspaper report on Thursday,
Warner has indicated he is not interested in the
post. See Page A5
Political analysts on
Diego West suspension
Show goes on
...Party rallies around political leader
PNM supporters during the party's public meeting at the carpark of Larry Gomes Stadium
in Malabar, Arima last night. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
PNM public relations officer Faris Al-Rawi
said the Government's suspension was
ultra vires, unlawful action and in breach of
Parliament rules, "The Government
essentially took political action in the
Parliament and didn't allow due process."
He said Rowley had warned publicly that if
the Emailgate matter had been sent to the
Privileges Committee, he'd have summoned
the Chief Justice, DPP Roger Gaspard, and
police as witnesses to speak about the
matter, but the Government's suspension
side-stepped any interrogation.
He said the Prime Minister's claim that a
police report that no spy bugs were found
in the DPP's office contradicted a Special
Branch report on this. Khan brushed off
Independent Liberal Party's MP Jack
Warner's claim that several PNM MPs
asked him to assist them in the House.
NO DUE PROCESS--- AL-RAWI
On PNM's boycott, PP House leader Dr
Roodal Moonilal said, "This gross disrespect
for the Parliament. It puts each PNM MP in
contempt of their oath of office. They're
telling constituents who elected them to
represent them, that they won't be
addressing their bread and butter concerns
and are more concerned with power and
office. Shameful, disgraceful and
unparalleled in the Commonwealth."
"There are six motions on PNM constituency
issues on today's Parliament agenda. We
remain faithful to their constituents who are
now unrepresented and may well appoint
shadow MPs to represent them and bring
the issues to the fore since they've
abdicated their responsibility due to Dr
Rowley's ill-advised, callous judgment. I
wager he wouldn't go to court as he knows
the Government acted properly.
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