Couva South MP Rudy Indarsingh intends to write to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley about the conduct of his Education Minister Anthony Garcia. Indarsingh is alleging that Garcia cursed him in the tea room of the Parliament on Friday afternoon, a charge that Garcia has swiftly denied.
In an interview with Sunday Newsday, Indarsingh insisted Garcia used an expletive in reference to him and that he should face the consequences of his action. “I would expect the Prime Minister (upon receipt of the letter) to do what is right in relation to the conduct of his Minister of Education , who is a Cabinet Minister and who has a responsibility to set an example to the school children of Trinidad and Tobago.”
He said the Minister has lost all moral authority to go into any school now and speak to children about their conduct .
The Couva South MP said he also intended to write to House Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar about the incident. Indarsingh noted there were four other MPs, two from the Opposition and two from the Government benches who witnessed the incident.
Indarsingh recalled, shortly after 1 pm on Friday, he was having a cordial conversation with Mayaro MP Rushton Paray, Fyzabad MP Dr Lackram Bodoe, Laventille West MP Fitzgerald Hinds and D’Abadie O’ Meara MP Ancil Antoine when Garcia came into the tea room.
He said Hinds, on seeing Garcia pointed to him (Indarsingh) and said, “Garcia, look Indarsingh here.” He said Garcia angrily responded “I don’t want to have no effing thing to do with him.”
Asked how he responded to Garcia, Indarsingh retorted, “I have 20 odd years experience as a trade unionist in industrial language.” Adding that he had a duty to his constituents and no one would silence him from doing so.
Calls to the cell phones of the four MP’s who were present in the tea room went unanswered.
Indarsingh offered the view that Garcia’s hostile behaviour towards him could be linked to him (Indarsingh) championing the cause of the Balmain Presbyterian School which was closed for weeks due to a sewer problem and also the Sonny Ladoo Early Childhood Education Centre.
Indarsingh further submitted that Government, which was incapable of dealing with the problems affecting the country, was masking their incompetence behind the term corruption. He said the Government was cracking under pressure and he would not be muzzled.
Hours after the clash, Garcia, in a media release, categorically denied that there was any obscene language exchanged between himself and Indarsingh.
He said, “There was a bit of picong being shared by MP Hinds. As is the nature of politics I joined in with my colleague and we exchanged banter. At no point in time was there any obscene language spoken. I make it a point to be respectful to all of my Cabinet colleagues and to have this allegation being made is of great concern to me.”
Meanwhile veteran parliamentarian, and former prime minister Basdeo Panday said the incident was an indication of the level to which the Parliament had sunk. He said the Parliament had degenerated and lost its purpose.