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Tuesday 17 July 2018
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Senate shake-up introduces three unknowns

Long before the announcement of the shake-up on the Opposition senate bench was made, axed Senator Wayne Sturge had taken to social media talking about his sacrifices for the past two years and how both his politics and his practice as a criminal attorney had suffered.

The post sent tongues wagging about the impending changes to the Senate line-up, but there was no confirmation or denial from Sturge, who wrote about running on four hours sleep each day, all for the love of country.

In the end, Sturge surmised, “I have no regrets. It was all a great sacrifice but, that’s how we grow. In the end it was an honour and a privilege to be a check and balance on those with the parliamentary majority.”

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s announcement by his political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar that he and two of his colleagues were to be replaced by three young, virtual unknowns, Sturge again took to social media this time pledging full support to both the United National Congress (UNC) and its leader.

Saying a house divided cannot stand, Sturge who has been the most colourful and voiceferous of the Opposition senators, leading the charge on controversial issues for the UNC, also defended his leader, saying in life one has to make hard and unpopular decisions.

Indications that a shake-up in the Senate was imminent and the announcement was scheduled to be made at last week’s Monday Night Forum at Pointe-a-Pierre, it was not until Tuesday at the UNC’s Parliamentary Arm meeting at Couva that confirmation was made.

Persad-Bissessar announced the appointment of attorney Saddam Hosein, who is currently reading for his Master’s Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice at UWI St Augustine, UNC Public Relations Officer, Anita Haynes, a graduate of St Joseph’s Convent, San Fernando who holds a law degree from the University of London, and Point Fortin-born and Presentation College, San Fernando graduate,Taharqu Obika. Obika read for his BSc in Economics at UWI St Augustine and for his MBA in Finance at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration in Ghana.

The trio succeeds the more experienced Sturge, who has served for two years, former chairman of the Chaguanas Development Authority (CDA) Danny Solomon and former Arima MP and Minister of National Diversity, Rodger Samuel. In a release Persad-Bissessar explained the decision to appoint youths. “The UNC’s policy commitment is to ensure and ultimately realise young people’s right to participate and be included in our democratic processes and practices, if this country is to achieve its globally agreed sustainable development goals and to refresh the entire development agenda”.

Sturge could not be reached by telephone, but expressed his sentiments via a post on his facebook page.

“In life we are sometimes called upon to make hard decisions. Decisions which may not sit well with many, but to make them we must. I’ve learned that if you try to please everybody, you’re likely to wind up pleasing nobody. It’s no different with politics. Sometimes decisions may be very unpopular, you make them anyway. In politics, as it is with life, you make the decision you think to be the right one, even if it’s unlikely to be popular.”

He said whatever happens, “My hope is that we move forward united under one leader and under one party. A house divided cannot stand. United we stand divided we fall.”

Personally, the criminal attorney said the changes are, “neither here nor there for me. My support will be unwavering. I will continue to work towards strengthening our party even if in the background.”

He also said that the lure of obscurity and going back to the quietude of private life, has been tempting him for the past for years and he has been considering the decision to withdraw completely from public life.


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