Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 19th 2013 Contents A5
Thursday, September 19, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
St Joseph MP Herbert Volney will formally
vacate the seat on Monday without any legal
challenge to House Speaker Wade Mark decla-
ration of his seat vacant last week Monday, clear-
ing the way for a by-election in early Decem-
Volney walked out of Parliament after Mark
declared the seat be vacated on September 9, fol-
lowing his decision to resign as a member of the
United National Congress.
He had 14 days from then to challenge the
Speaker s decision.
He had initially stated he would commence
legal action against the Speaker but has now decid-
ed against such action because he had no intention
of playing any role again in electoral politics.
A release yesterday by the constituency office
manager, Mark Dolsingh, said the seat "will accord-
ingly be vacated on Monday September 23, 2013,
a day of infamy for the democratic way of life of
the people of Trinidad and Tobago."
Dolsingh said Volney maintained his disagree-
ment with the Speaker s ruling.
He said Volney sought and obtained the advice
of Senior Counsel who have offered the opinion
that there was a strong justiciable cause against
the Speaker of the House of Representatives to
challenge and upset his ruling.
The release said: "This is a matter of great con-
stitutional importance. The action of the Prime
Minister and the Speaker has upset the legitimate
election and tenure of the Member of Parliament
for St Joseph other than by the popular expression
of the will of the people."
It added it was not Volney s responsibility to
correct the ruling, "given his desire not to continue
in electoral politics."
It said that was "a cause for civil society and
the law bodies to take up."
Dolsingh said Mark s ruling "not only effectively
unseats an elected member but serves to discrim-
inate in its outreach against members with a leader
of a party in the House of Representatives and
members without such a leader in the House of
The statement confirmed that Volney no longer
wanted to "oblige litigation in the High Court for
several reasons, including the high cost of litigation,
the perpetuation of State-sponsored political
ridicule and harassment by supporters of the Gov-
ernment and the absence of access to the appellate
jurisdiction of the Privy Council or the Caribbean
Court of Justice."
According to Dolsingh, Volney was grateful to
constituents of St Joseph "for their support and
joins prayerfully for the election of a worthy suc-
Volney, a former High Court judge, was elected
MP for St Joseph on May 24, 2010 and was
appointed Justice Minister.
He was sacked last year after the Prime Minister
said he misled the Cabinet about his consultation
with Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Director of
Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard on the early
proclamation of Section 34 of the Administration
of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Bill, 2011.
That provision, which has since been repealed,
created an amnesty for people who had criminal
cases pending for ten years and more and was
widely seen as benefitting UNC financiers charged
in the Piarco Airport corruption case.
Volney resigned from the UNC in July and joined
the Independent Liberal Party, which is led by
Former minister Jack Warner, now Inde-
pendent Liberal Party (ILP) leader, some-
times pressured Cabinet members and it
also became clear "one had to put greater
oversight on any of his portfolio areas"
that required expenditure, said People s
Partnership frontline minister Roodal
In an interview prior to the Parliament
sitting yesterday, Moonilal was asked how
the Cabinet had allowed the Works Ministry
to approve renting a building from Daryan
Warner, son of Jack Warner, for use in the
Citizens Security Programme, an organisation
under the National Security Ministry, when
Warner was then Works Minister.
Moonilal had referred to the rental in Par-
liament on Tuesday saying the Mucurapo
Road building was approved for DW Property
Warner later became National Security
Moonilal said yesterday there was no
record that Warner recused himself from
Cabinet deliberations on the matter.
"I m looking at the record and I am not
seeing it. I believe he participated. We will
confirm the record," he added.
He said the Works Ministry did approvals
of all buildings and in the case they provided
approvals. At the time the Property Division
was not under Housing but under the Pub-
lic Administration division, he said.
Moonilal added: "The procedure is all
buildings must have approvals from the
Inspectorate of the Works Ministry but the
problem here is the very minister doing the
approvals is the minister whose family has
an interest in the building."
On why Cabinet allowed the Works Min-
istry to undertake the venture, Moonilal
said: "It would have been done on the rec-
ommendation of the Ministry of Works and
Warner was the minister at the time."
Asked about the perception that Cabinet
was complicit in the situation, Moonilal
"He s portraying himself as a corruption
buster as if ministers of Government and
their families benefit so much and he is
denying the fact that his entire family... I
don t know any member of his family who
may not have benefitted in some way.
"We have no difficulty renting a building
to Mr Warner s son or giving a house or a
family member a Cepep contract as the case
may be on his recommendation.
"People are deserving, businessmen are
deserving but he plays holier than thou as
though the Government is involved in some
massive corruption, giving patronage to
friends and family, as if his family has not
benefitted in some way from the Govern-
ment, though I am not saying they ben-
Asked about the perception of nepotism
that could overshadow the collective PP
Cabinet because of the award of the building
contract, and if no Cabinet members had
voiced concerns about it, Moonilal said:
"Mr Warner had been a senior Cabinet
minister and very influential minister at that.
"His presence brought influence. If he
brought a (Cabinet) note and he wanted
monies to do covering approval in his min-
istry... he was influential.
"He was chairman of the party, a senior
cabinet minister and one of the advisers to
the Prime Minister.
"Strangely enough, he was probably the
leader of any cabal if there was one... he
was an influential figure."
That much? Moonilal was asked.
He replied: "Yeah, he was a very influential
man when he came with his notes and so
on and exerted... in fact he sometimes pres-
sured cabinet ministers."
Asked if no one voiced concerns about
that and nepotism, Moonilal said:
"At that time he thought that was fine.
He told us that he thought that was fine
and he said he had business interests and
so on and his family... the issue for us that
Mr Warner cannot play holier-than-thou
and so hypocritical in that his family mem-
bers were beneficiaries of government con-
tracts and services.
Moonilal on Warner's role in Works Ministry:
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar has accused the Oppo-
sition of deliberately misleading
and misinforming the public dur-
ing the budget debate.
During her remarks yesterday
in the budget debate in Parlia-
ment, Tower D, Waterfront Cen-
tre, Wrightson Road, Port of
Spain, Persad-Bissessar rebutted
two points made by the PNM:
She reiterated that Government
was not returning the property
tax and she cleared the air on the
T&T/Venezuela Loran Manatee
The PM said that T&T had not
"given everything to Venezuela"
and held the right to veto the proj-
ect once sovereign interests were
She said the project was a stan-
dard production- sharing agree-
ment which allocated 16.9 per
cent control to T&T and 14.6 per
cent control to Venezuela.
Persad-Bissessar added that
private company --- Chevron T&T
Ltd and British Gas T&T Ltd ---
also had a share in the project
which amounted to approximately
five per cent each.
"T&T does have the 27 per
cent. So we didn t give away any-
thing," she said.
Another point of contention for
the PM was the property tax.
The PM said Government
would not be reintroducing the
Property Tax but a land and build-
She said the property tax and
the land and building tax were
not the same and added that the
land and building tax would revert
to the law before a 2010 PNM
Persad-Bissessar said the Peo-
ple s Partnership Government had
campaigned against the property
tax and would not seek to bring
it back. She said tax regimes were
"As the Government we will
continue to keep citizens informed
and maintain a high standard of
accountability," she said.
She added that the PP would
not repeat the failures of the past.
The bill was eventually passed
at 7.52 pm after it was read a third
time. Twenty-five government
MPs voted for it and ten Oppo-
sition MPs voted against. The
debate will move to the Senate
PM: No return to property tax
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar holds copies of the
Draft Estimates during her response to the budget at the
sitting of Parliament yesterday. PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
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