Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 13th 2015 Contents GAIL ALEXANDER
While some PNM MPs are toe-
ing the party line on remaining
out of the Lower House, two have
expressed concerns about its
effect on full representation of
One of them, Laventille West
MP Nileung Hypolite, believes MPs
should return to the House.
PNM's Council last Thursday
mandated MPs not to participate
in Lower House sessions in
response to the suspension of PNM
leader Keith Rowley.
That resulted from a Govern-
ment motion of censure concerning
his May 2013 e-mail presentation
after Government presented
experts' confirmation that the e-
mails were false.
PNM's General Council subse-
quently instructed House of Rep-
resentative MPs to withdraw from
Parliamentary debates from last
Friday and continuing until the
Government rescinds Rowley's sus-
MPs also are not attending
meetings of the 16 Joint Select
Committees (JSC). PNM Senators
have continued attending Senate
and JSC meetings.
Hypolite said he was notified of
the decision not to attend Parlia-
ment via a text message from the
PNM's whip Marlene McDonald.
He added: "I had no intention
of attending Parliament last Friday
anyway since I have the flu. I, how-
ever, wish to ask about the decision
not to attend since Laventille West
has 27,000 voters of which 10,700
voted for PNM to represent them
in the Parliament.
"I wanted to know if any con-
sultation was done with our con-
stituents before General Council
decided. The instruction needs to
come from the electorate who we
represent in Parliament, it will
Hypolite said he had written the
House Speaker seeking leave of
absence for last Friday. He declined
comment on "attending or blank-
ing" future House sessions.
He said he was dealing with the
situation by seeing constituents
and writing public servants.
"I still believe we were placed
in Parliament to represent the elec-
tors. They are the ones who should
say whether they want MPs to con-
tinue there or not... (So) I believe
we should return to Parliament
and do what we were elected to
do... represent constituents inside
as well as outside Parliament."
Diego Martin Central MP Amery
Browne said of the PNM move:
"As a parliamentary representative,
I have always utilised the privilege
of speaking in the House of Rep-
resentatives to reflect genuinely
the views, aspirations, concerns
and needs of all the people of Diego
"It is unfortunate that repre-
sentation in the House for many
citizens may now be silenced until
a general election because while a
member may be suspended the
need for honest and decent rep-
resentation is never suspended.
"Members who choose to boy-
cott' the remainder of sittings
would be expected to utilise other
means of conveying the sentiments
of the people they were elected to
represent, including public plat-
forms and social media, but that's
not the same and won't be recorded
in Parliament's Hansard."
Browne added: "At the end of
the day, a primary concern in this
matter has to be that the truth is
being lost in process and procedure.
"The central truth in this entire
saga revolves around a fundamental
question: Were those alleged e-
mails the real deal or are they fab-
"Constituents have expressed
concern that the PNM is staying
out of Parliament but some also
expressed understanding of the
circumstances that caused it,"
La Brea MP Fitzgerald Jeffrey
said most of his constituents didn't
think his area was being served
anyway and didn't have a problem
with him being out of Parliament.
He noted he contributed weekly
questions to the Parliament agen-
da's to ministers and usually had
queries of specific reference to La
Brea and environs on which he
faced off with ministers.
Port-of-Spain North's Pat
McIntosh said only about 20 per
cent of work was done in Parlia-
ment and the PNM would work
with the public while outside.
She said the PNM didn't say it
would stay away completely and
wanted to return but would only
do so when Government rescinded
Arouca MP Alicia Hospedales
said she had no problem with being
out of Parliament and her con-
stituents backed her fully.
While Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar boasted of the State s recent
success in arbitrary hearings with
Venezuelan company, Sural, over the
cancelled aluminium smelter plant at
La Brea, Opposition Senator Faris Al-
Rawi says the matter can be far from
Displaying a T&T "red cent" on the
political platform during the UNC's Mon-
day Night Forum at the Diego Martin
North Secondary School, Persad-Bissessar
"We win, we win, we win," as she told
the large crowd of supporters the State
had challenged the company's attempt to
secure $750 million for her Government's
cancellation of the project, which was
contracted by the former PNM admin-
The project was initiated in 2005 when
China's EximBank granted a US$400 mil-
lion loan to the Government to fund it.
The Government then established Alutrint,
which held a 60 per cent ownership, and
Sural, the remaining 40 per cent.
But the project was met with strong
and persistent opposition from residents
and environmentalists, including leader
of the Highway Re-route Movement Dr
When the UNC assumed office in 2010,
it cancelled the project.
According to Persad-Bissessar, the arbi-
trators dismissed Sural's claim and ordered
it to pay the State $17 million in costs.
But Al-Rawi, in an interview said yes-
terday: "The process is not finished until
the final court has had the final say.
"Very often decisions of arbitrators are
overturned so this process must be inter-
rogated by disclosure.
"We can't just simply have pieces of
paper waved at us, particularly when the
Government has a track record of not
giving us the full particulars of anything
Al-Rawi also dismissed a promise by
Persad-Bissessar at the same meeting to
sell rental HDC houses, in instances where
the residents have occupied it for more
than 30 years, for only $100.
He said the proposal was "not a simple
situation" to implement. He said an earlier
promise by the Government to give con-
cessions to those involved in construction
have not materialised as yet. He said what
the PM said at the meeting was just "elec-
"What makes it tragic is that it was
intended for some of the most vulnerable
people in T&T.
"It seems to be a very insincere promise
(and) I don't think the Prime Minister
will get away with it because people are
a lot smarter," he added.
According to Al-Rawi, the Prime Min-
ister "is facing devastating polls" and "this
is electioneering at its worst."
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Hypolite has doubts
over House boycott
MP: What about the constituents?
Dillon Ramoutar cranks
up a miniature sugar cane
grinder which he uses to
extract cane juice for sale
at Marabella roundabout
on Tuesday. The grinder
was refurbished by his
PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Al-Rawi in reply
to PM's claim:
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