Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 8th 2013 Contents A5
September 8, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
St Joseph MP Herbert Volney is
maintaining that Speaker Wade
Mark cannot "unseat" him in Par-
liament at tomorrow s first sitting
of the House.
When Parliament convenes for
the 2014 budget presentation by
Finance Minister Larry Howai, the
St Joseph MP said he may pay Mark
"a courtesy call."
Volney said, "The fact is, I don t
expect the Speaker to act without
jurisdiction and rashly. If he acts
rashly then I shall have my day else-
where. The Constitution is very clear.
They cannot unseat me at this time."
Volney who was fired as justice
minister from the PP Government
over the Section 34 debacle said he
did not see himself being removed
physically, nor can he be suspended,
expelled or his seat declared vacant.
Volney said he has a battery of
lawyers, some of whom are foreign-
ers, waiting to pursue the matter
"just in case."
Two weeks ago, Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar wrote Mark
querying whether the St Joseph seat
should be declared vacant after Vol-
ney resigned from the UNC and
joined forces with Jack Warner s
Independent Liberal Party.
"I have come from a very dignified
past. After sitting all these years on
the bench, I am not confrontational.
If the Speaker acts contrary to law,
which I do not expect to happen,
my attorneys will take the necessary
action in the courts to seek redress.
I am not going to be confronting the
Speaker in the chamber."
Volney said he was not surprised
by the PM s move.
"This is not about Herbert Volney,
you know. This is about Jack Warner.
I think the PM wants to send a mes-
sage to all her parliamentarians that
if they act, as I have, that she will
put them under pressure."
He questioned how many people
the PM can take to court.
"How many people can she force
Maharaj: It will be
misconduct in public office
If Mark vacates the seat tomorrow,
former attorney general Ramesh
Lawrence Maharaj said his actions
would be tantamount to being
unconstitutional, illegal, null and
"The Speaker would also be con-
ducting misconduct in public office."
Maharaj said he can t see Mark
vacating Volney s seat.
"As a matter of fact, if the Speaker
vacates his seat under the laws of
Trinidad and Tobago, the Constitu-
tion says there must be Standing
Orders in order to implement the
Maharaj said the Government
would have no power to vacate the
seat under Section 49 of the Con-
Section 49 A of the Constitution
(sometimes referred to as the Cross-
ing the Floor Act) cannot be imple-
mented unless Standing Orders are
"If they violate Section 49 because
there are no Standing Orders, they
would be acting illegal."
If Volney is removed by force,
Maharaj said Volney can do three
• Ask the court to declare what
they have done illegal. He can also
ask for damages against the Speaker
• Resign his seat. Force a by-elec-
tion and claim damages against the
Speaker and Members of Parliament.
• Refer the matter to the DPP and
COP to investigate a criminal offence
of misconduct in public office.
"Volney can also seek special
damages with regards to what he
would have earned when he was an
MP. The court can award him puni-
tive damages for the Government
being reckless and disregard of law.
Past governments have obeyed the
law and Constitution. But this Gov-
ernment has shown that they are
undemocratic and can overthrow
the Constitution and rule of law. It
was done on many occasions."
Insisting that Volney is a lawful
member of the House, Maharaj said
unless a court declares him not to
be in Parliament or there is an
authority under the Constitution to
have him remove by the Speaker,
"he cannot be removed lawfully."
He explained if a member has not
been following the Standing Orders,
the Speaker has the power to put
him out or ask the marshall to
"This is not that issue. The issue
is, he is an elected member of the
House and the Constitution says
how he is to be removed if he moves
from one party to another. So no
Standing Orders have been made."
Basdeo: Anything can
Questioned if Volney can be force-
fully be removed at the first sitting,
political analyst Maukesh Basdeo
said "there are two schools of
thought" on the issue.
One involved political principle
and whether Volney, having joined
the ILP should follow the example
of Warner by resigning to revalidate
his terms as MP.
"The other is the legality as
whether the law will permit Volney
from vacating his seat."
What could be the worst case sce-
Basdeo said if Mark declares the
seat vacant, "then Volney would have
14 days to challenge the ruling."
If this should happen, Basdeo said,
"I foresee it can go all the way to
the Privy Council. It will come down
on how the court will rule. This can
be a lengthy process."
The Speaker, Basdeo said, has the
option of declaring the seat vacant
before or after the budget is read.
"Everything is in Mark s hands.
If he decides to give a ruling on Mon-
day or to rule after the budget, that
is his perogative. Anything can hap-
pen on Monday."
should seek legal advice
Asked if Mark can declare the seat
vacant or defer the matter tomorrow,
Dana Seetahal, SC, said he would
have to seek legal advice.
"The Constitution makes provi-
sions for the entire procedure, but
he can do it based on the Consti-
tution. I would imagine that he
would seek to get advice before he
Messages left on Mark s cellphone
yesterday were not returned.
Mark is in South Africa leading a
delegation at the Commonwealth
Section 49 A (1):
"Where circumstances such as
are referred to in Section 49(2)(e)
arise, the leader in the House of Rep-
resentatives of the party as a can-
didate of which the member was
elected, shall so inform the Speaker
in writing of those circumstances
and the Speaker shall, at the sitting
of the House of Representatives next
after he is so informed, make a dec-
laration that the member has
resigned from or has been expelled
by the party, as the case may be."
The Media Association of Trinidad
and Tobago (Matt) says those who
practice the art of journalism must
"deliver information in the fairest,
most accurate and honest way pos-
sible, to maintain the integrity of
the industry and the trust of our
Matt in a release underscored the
right of editors, journalists and other
media personnel to make judgment
calls on content based on what they
feel is in the interest of their read-
ers.The release noted the various com-
plaints from different sectors of the
public regarding the Newsday s Sep-
tember 4 edition and maintains that
whatever editorial decisions a media
house takes "must be done with spe-
cial emphasis on accurately reflecting
events as they take place, whether
with sound, text or photographs."
According to Matt, what the media
generate has the power to influence
society in a powerful way and prac-
titioners must be mindful of conse-
While there are calls for an inter-
vention from the association, Matt
highlighted that the Constitution
allows for a fundamental right of free-
dom of expression, and more so, free-
dom of the press to deliver informa-
tion to the public without fear.
Volney: Speaker can't move me
'Media workers must maintain
integrity, trust of readers'
An unidentified body on the
shoulder of the Beetham High-
way last night caused traffic to
back up for miles.
Traffic came to a grinding halt
as residents of Beetham Gardens
tried to piece together how the
person lost their life.
Police officers on the scene were
unsure if the victim was struck
while crossing the highway or
came into the path of an oncom-
ing vehicle. Up to late last night,
no one could say whether the
body was that of a man or
causes traffic to
back up last night
St Joseph MP Herbert Volney in the House of Representatives on Friday. Next to him is Chaguanas West MP Jack
Warner. PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
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