PM: Bring no-confidence motion against me

Dr Keith Rowley
Dr Keith Rowley

THE Prime Minister dared the Opposition to bring a no-confidence motion against him, as he dismissed as “a waste of valuable Parliament time” the Opposition’s censure motion against Minister of National Security Stuart Young.

Speaking in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Dr Rowley said the motion was “incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial.”

The PM said Young had never acted on his own, but rather within a well-managed Cabinet.

Rowley said that to protect this country from the covid19 pandemic, steps were taken that were largely displeasing, inconvenient and at times hurtful, but it was all medicine Trinidad and Tobago needed to take.

“If we look around the world today, we in TT are in a much better place than many other nations. That is so because we have swallowed our own bitter medicine and ignored the self-serving advice of the Opposition.”

Rowley said he had led a government since 2015 to now during a very difficult period, but Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar had never filed a no-confidence motion against him. He wondered why she had brought a motion against Young, rather than one against the Government.

He said Persad-Bissessar didn’t really believe in what she was saying.

Saying 330,000 TT nationals live abroad with a right to return, mostly in the UK and US, he said he had asked them to hold their position for a while, so the return process could be properly managed.

YOUNG LOVE: PNM supporters Keiron Amarosa and Anglie Ramoutar show support for Minister of National Security Stuart Young outside the Red House on Abercromby Street, Port of Spain, as Parliament debates an Opposition motion of no confidence against him on Wednesday. - SUREASH CHOLAI

Noting the different circumstances between someone simply accustomed to travelling and another person seeking life-saving medical treatment, the PM said, “Somebody has to make that call.”

He told the Opposition, “Your motion is misdirected. I take responsibility for what the Ministry of National Security does and what this Government does. So come file a motion against me for what we are doing to defend the people of TT."

Rowley said in his Government, ministers don’t do as they please, but are within a managed Cabinet, whose full confidence Young enjoys.

In contrast, he claimed under the former People’s Partnership government, the prime minister (Persad-Bissessar) had approved funds for the Carenage Fishing Market, but her line minister had said no funds were available.

Rowley said he had not taken the Opposition’s advice on handling covid19.

Accusing the Opposition of trying to say a particular group of foreigners who left TT for Guyana and returned could come and go at will, but not local people, he said he had a letter from the Chinese embassy to say these 17 were all covered by diplomatic immunity.

Earlier, the Attorney General said under an international treaty, the Vienna Convention, diplomats cannot be forced to undergo quarantine.

Saying details were previously given in Parliament on this case, Rowley chided, “It is all just cheap politics that will get us nowhere except to have people feel they are discriminated against, and that is not true.”

He said thanks to how the Government had managed its affairs, it will soon try to let a few pupils return to school, for activities that need their presence, such as lab work, even as TT was in “a much better place” than countries now in their second and third lockdowns, with hospitals overflowing with people sick with covid19.

"In some cases you can't even allow your own family into your own home. You can't see more than one person on the pavement. That's what's happening in the world around us," he said. “Our colleagues with us on the other side, instead of standing with us in a difficult situation, they pass up no opportunity to stir up the pot against the Government's efforts.”

The PM vowed to oppose any fabricating of stories to incite people against the Government. He said the vast majority of people out of TT on short-term business when the borders were closed had since been brought back in "an orderly and safe manner."

He alleged the UNC was stirring up people daily on social media to say Government was heartless towards nationals seeking to return home.


"PM: Bring no-confidence motion against me"

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