Opposition MP Barry Padarath, one of embattled MP Darryl Smith's most outspoken critics, is now calling for the Diego Martin Central representative to quit his seat in Parliament.
Earlier today, the Office of the Prime Minister announced that Smith, who had only yesterday been reshuffled from the Ministry of Sport to Minister in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, had that appointment revoked. Padarath questioned Rowley's sudden change of heart and called on the PM to account for this new development.
"Smith must now resign from Parliament or the Prime Minister must now invoke the relevant standing order to revoke his appointment," Padarath told Newsday in a brief telephone interview. Parliamentarians who sit in the "seat of democracy" must demonstrate their abilities to serve the public through their words and actions, Padarath said, and Smith had failed to do that. "Even his own constituents want him out."
Smith– and Rowley– had been under increasing public pressure to address allegations of sexual harassment and a $150,000 wrongful termination suit brought against the Sport Ministry by Smith's former personal assistant. The details had first been reported by the Newsday on March 25.
"This is really an admission from the Prime Minster of his poor leadership style," Padarath said. "He has not restored integrity to the situation, even though he has set up this committee to investigate the matter. That is what he should have done (when the reports were first made)."
Padarath said Rowley was only now reacting to public pressure from the media and the Opposition. Padarath and Smith have long had a contentious relationship– in 2015, during the Budget debate, Smith had referred to Padarath as the "Member for Princess Town," and after backlash, was forced to apologise.
"My back is broad. I don't hold grudges, but when it comes to representing people and integrity in public life, he needs to be held accountable," Padarath said.