Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 6th 2013 Contents RICHARD LORD
House Speaker Wade Mark says MPs are
being paid "peanuts" and are expected to
deliver quality service to citizens.
He said so in an interview with reporters
during yesterday s break at the opening of
a parliamentary workshop, titled Budget
Scrutiny and Parliamentary Oversight, at
the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain.
"How can you pay members peanuts?
Imagine an elected MP is getting $15,000
a month. That is peanuts," Mark said.
According to Mark T&T "cannot be seri-
ous" if MPs were being asked to "produce
and deliver quality services" and not be
He said that was one of the "biggest chal-
lenges" facing Parliament and he hoped the
Salaries Review Commission would
addressed it accordingly.
Mark said Parliament had submitted its
recommendations for pay hikes. Mark also
said there would be sweeping changes to
the rules governing Parliament in the next
session which begins after July 10. He said
the Standing Orders were established since
1961 and there was need for significant
Asked if parliamentary privilege was
among measures to be addressed in the new
Standing Orders, Mark said that was guar-
anteed under the Constitution. He said the
electorate would deal with those who either
abused or were perceived to abuse it.
He said the most a presiding officer could
do was to caution members against abusing
freedom of speech, especially against people
who were not in Parliament to defend them-
"Without freedom of speech Parliament
would not exist," he added.
Asked if he felt the need to abolish the
Committee of Privileges, Mark said he did
not share that view because it was the respon-
sibility of the Parliament to regulate itself.
"Nobody tells us what we have to do. We
determine what we have to do. No Judiciary
and no Executive...Parliament regulates its
own affairs," Mark said.
Commenting on his role in the committee,
Mark said he was just a referee to ensure the
principles of fairness and natural justice were
followed. He said he remained impartial in
matters before the committee. Mark said any
report of the committee would be deliberated
on by the House of Representatives and not
members of the Privileges Committee.
In his address to the workshop he said
Cabinet already had approved a new man-
agement structure for Parliament. He said
the new plan would give the Parliament finan-
cial and management autonomy. He said
when that was implemented the Parliament
could recruit the best and pay them the best.
Mark told reporters he had written to Attor-
ney General Anand Ramlogan advising him
the instructions were given for the Clerk of
the House to meet with the Chief Parlia-
mentary Counsel to advance the initiative.
Thursday, June 6, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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for JUNE 5th 2013
Minister in the Ministry of the Environment
and Water Resources Ramona Ramdial says
security will be beefed up at the Beetham land-
fill.She also said the landfill would eventually be
moved. Speaking at yesterday s UNDP Caribbean
Knowledge Fair to observe World Environment
Day at the National Academy for Performing
Arts, Port-of-Spain, the minister spoke of new
legislation to protect the environment from
improper disposal of waste material, including
the establishment of a recycling plant.
While that would assist with landfills in the
future, she said, there needed to be a short-term
plan for the Beetham landfill site.
She said the plan for the landfill was two-
pronged, starting with security.
She added: "We re looking to enforce heavier
security inside there to protect the landfill itself
because you are not supposed to be burning on
a landfill...it s those scavengers looking for the
copper and the iron in the waste material."
For several days last month, fire engulfed parts
of the landfill site and several attempts to put
it out were unsuccessful, causing smoke to spread
through areas of Port-of-Spain.
"We are going to enforce a stricter security
system, probably CCTV cameras, policemen
there on a 24-hour basis so that we can protect
there," she added.
She said there were future plans to move the
dump to another site eventually.
"It s an eyesore. You can t have a dump coming
into the city.
"You have to look for land, land that is available.
You have to look at settlement patterns in your
country. Those two factors are most important."
She said the Ministry of Planning and Sus-
tainable Development was doing a land-use
policy and it would be the one, via other min-
istries, to source a new site for a landfill.
She said, however, no new information had
been brought to her as yet on the potential move.
A spokesman for the Planning Ministry said, via
telephone, there have been no discussions so far
on their end regarding a location change for the
"There is no specific, individual, definite plan
to move the landfill coming from the ministry,"
the spokesman said.
Legislators will have to deter-
mine what penalty, if any, will
be imposed on Leader of the
Opposition Dr Keith Rowley for
contempt of Parliament when
the Privilege Committee submits
its report on the matter shortly.
Speaker Wade Mark told
reporters yesterday Parliament
was scheduled to be prorogued at
midnight on July 10. If the com-
mittee has not completed its
report by then, the matter will
It is chaired by the Speaker and
includes five Government and
three Opposition MPs.
Rowley is facing three penalties
if found in contempt of Parlia-
ment. He could be reprimanded,
suspended or expelled.
Sources said yesterday it would
be unprecedented if Rowley were
A spokesman, who asked not
to identified, said: "It seems very
unlikely he will even be suspended
because it raises the issue of his
loss of property, which is a con-
The other option open to the
Parliament was to reprimand the
Diego Martin West MP.
Rowley was referred to the
Committee of Privileges on May
22 after Prime Minister Kamla
Persad-Bissessar raised a matter
of privilege against him.
It stemmed from his presen-
tation of a no-confidence motion
against her three days earlier.
In presenting the motion Row-
ley read 31 e-mails bearing the
addresses of Persad-Bissessar,
Attorney General Anand Ramlo-
gan and Works and Local Gov-
ernment Minister Dr Surujrattan
The e-mails referred to possible
actions to be taken in the wake
of a T&T Guardian exclusive
report about the August 31 procla-
mation of Section 34 of the
Administration of Justice
(Indictable Proceedings) Bill 2011.
That legislation would have
allowed two former financiers of
the Government to escape certain
court appearances relating to the
Piarco Airport enquiry.
The law was hurriedly repealed
days later after emergency sittings
of Parliament in early September.
Persad-Bissessar told the
Speaker that Rowley committed
contempt of the House on the
• He deliberately and wilfully
misled the House.
• He recklessly abused the
privilege of freedom of speech,
thereby bringing the House into
public ridicule and odium.
The PM told Parliament she
believed Rowley ought to have
known the document from which
he quoted was a fabrication.
Mark said a prima-facie case
had been made out against Row-
ley and referred the matter.
The committee held its first
meeting last Monday and a sec-
ond is scheduled for Tuesday.
Security at landfill
to be beefed up MPs being paid peanuts
Mark at parliamentary workshop:
Rowley faces reprimand or suspension
Senate President Timothy Hamel-Smith makes an address during the opening ceremony
of the parliamentary workshop at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. Seated at
the head table are permanent secretary in the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable
Development Arlene Mc Comie and Speaker Wade Mark. PHOTO: BRIAN NG FATT
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