Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 12th 2013 Contents A5
Thursday, September 12, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Gunmen have "run" corporation
workers out of Beetham Gardens and
the employees of some contractors
working in Diego Martin have been
kidnapped and held for ransom,
Works Minister Suruj Rambachan said
He did so in winding up debate in
the Senate on the proportional repre-
sentation bill concerning the appoint-
ment of aldermen. It was passed at 3.17
Outlining problems corporations
faced, Rambachan said some workers
who went to Beetham Estates recently
to do paving were chased out by people
toting guns who told them not to come
In Diego Martin, he said, thousands
of dollars in ransom were sought for
contractors workers who were held for
ransom. He said workers lives were
threatened on the job.
He said Government had saved
money on URP "ghost gangs", in which
certain people took away workers debit
cards, cashed in their salaries, took half
the money and gave the workers the
Rambachan said authorities had
come up against "strong forces" and
had taken away some of their power.
He said corporations needed "mayors
with guts," like San Fernando mayor
Navi Muradali, whom, he said, closed
down faulty food outlets.
Local Government Minister Marlene
Coudray, blaming the PNM for making
local government deteriorate, said
although some members of the PP had
tried to convince the Prime Minister
T&T was not ready for local polls
because of the state local government
was in, the PM had still mandated polls
would be held when they were due.
She said due to the PNM s tenure,
local government existed in name only
and it was better "not to have consul-
tation than spend millions as the PNM
did and end up with nothing."
Independent Senator Elton Prescott
asked whether defeated candidates or
those who crossed the floor would be
able to be aldermen.
"In another place it s likely you can
find yourself without a seat," he added.
He queried what would transpire
with runners-up and whether they
could be aldermen.
He felt the bill was only on a nodding
basis with PR and was more focused
on the issue of the aldermen aspect so
it should be called the "aldermen bill."
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan
said he saw no problem with allowing
people who lost general polls to be
nominated as aldermen but it would
be up to the parties.
Independent Senator Anthony Viera,
who supported the bill, felt a mixed
PR/first-past-the-post formula was
He wondered at the strategic intent
and asked whether its benefits would
be for one party for one purpose for
only one day.
He did not think the touted added
value was present. Saying it was a "baby
step" on the issue he hoped Govern-
ment made good on its promise on the
Viera s colleague, Dhanayshar
Mahabir, said some of the property tax
should be used to assist local govern-
ment and the Green Fund should be
used also by Cepep and URP in that
He said corporations could work with
schools in a beverage-container-col-
lection effort for payment.
He sanctioned police, public sector
and constitutional reform.
Independent senator Dr Ayesha
Edwards said 40 per cent of Tobago-
nians were not represented in recent
THA election results.
Saying she felt the bill benefitted the
parties, Edwards queried why it was
being presented now so close to local
PNM Senator Faris Al-Rawi said PR
was not mentioned in Government s
local government papers.
He said the issue was being dealt
with at a time the 2014 budget was in
the spotlight and the "sideshow" of
the St Joseph seat issue was also in the
He queried how parties would come
up with the large number of aldermen
now required at this stage, close to the
"We re passing law and figuring it
out after," he added.
Suruj during debate on PR Bill:
Debris left at the top of the Allen Peters drain on Second Avenue Mt Lambert after the drain
overflowed from heavy rains yesterday. PHOTO: ROBERTO CODALLO
Once ousted MP for St Joseph
Herbert Volney files legal action
against his removal from Parlia-
ment, he can return to sit in the
Senior Counsel and former
politician Kenneth Lalla said yes-
terday: "Once he files in the court,
he is reinstated as an MP and
remains there until such time as
the court makes a determination.
Up until that time when the filing
is made, however, he is out."
Lalla said the Standing Order
has not been properly amended
and was one area at which Volney s
legal minds would look.
"It is the first time a situation
like this has arisen so we will have
to wait and see," Lalla said.
But while Volney seems con-
vinced of his rights under the
Constitution, Lalla said it was not
"Seems to me the question is
whether or not Volney is still an
MP. If one is to read Section 49
of the Constitution, it is abun-
dantly clear that he ought to be
removed," Lalla said.
Volney has 14 days to take legal
action against Speaker Wade
Mark s declaration on Monday
that his seat was vacant.
He is planning to seek exem-
plary damages from Mark in his
private capacity after his uncer-
emonious removal from Parlia-
"I was publicly humiliated. I
wrote and told him he had no
authority to remove me and he
went ahead. Well, I trust in the
courts, I will let them handle this,"
he said yesterday.
Volney, who left Parliament after
Mark declared his seat vacant, has
since met with his lawyers and
said he expected the matter to be
filed in the High Court "within a
matter of days."
He added: "My salary has not
been touched. I will still be getting
my salary. Only a High Court judge
can remove an elected Member of
Parliament not the Speaker of the
House. The Speaker can silence
me but he cannot unseat me."
He said Mark could use his
authority to keep him out of Par-
liament but could not stop him
from continuing his MP s duties
as he was duly elected not
"I will remain out of Parliament
but I will continue to work for the
people of St Joseph who elected
me," he said.
He also blasted the media for
"making mischief" and putting
incorrect information out in the
"I see journalists writing and
quoting incorrect information and
saying sources said. Who are your
sources with this incorrect infor-
mation?" he asked.
Volney said the issue was not
muddled at all and was actually
"The Speaker has the right to
declare that I resigned from the
party but not the authority to
unseat me and that is the decision
that I am challenging in the
courts," he said.
Volney said Mark should not
have invoked the Crossing of the
Floor Act because of the outstand-
ing Standing Order.
"He is out of constitutional
place to remove me and that s why
I am seeking exemplary damages
in his personal capacity," Volney
Volney said Mark must feel he
had won but cautioned him
against any premature celebra-
"It is whoever has the last laugh
that is the winner and I will laugh
last," Volney said.
Lalla: Volney can still sit in House
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