LEADER of Government Business in the House Camille Robinson- Regis has said the Opposition Leader should apologise to President Paula-Mae Weekes for erroneously accusing her of failing to send a notification to the Parliament on the appointment of Vincel Edwards as a member of the Police Service Commission.
Persad-Bissessar claimed the law provided for consultation with the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition before any notification is sent to the Parliament. She said to date no such notification had been sent, suggesting the President might have fallen into a legal error.
Both the President and Robinson-Regis responded,in separate releases, saying Persad-Bissessar is the one who erred.
Edwards, a retired deputy commissioner of police, was first nominated by the Office of the President to fill a vacancy in the PSC in June 2020.
“It should not be my role to point out that once more, the Opposition Leader is inept,” Robinson-Regis, who is also the Minister of Planning and Development, said in a release late on Sunday.
“I will however bring it to her (Persad-Bisessar’s) attention that on June 10, 2020, the President’s notification to Parliament for the appointment of Mr Vincel Edwards as a member of the PSC was received by the Clerk of the House.
“The President, as is required by the Constitution, indicated quite clearly in the notification that she had consulted both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
“On the order paper of Friday July 3, 2020, the last sitting of the 11th Parliament, there was the Motion to Confirm Mr Edwards. With the general election looming the motion lapsed.
“If the Opposition Leader would read the standing orders, she would know a motion could only be returned to the Order Paper on the instruction of the Leader of the House.”
Robinson-Regis said on September 15, 2021, she gave the Clerk the instruction that the notification should appear on the next order paper. She pointed out that the Lower House has not sat since that instruction was given.
“With lack of parliamentary and legal experience on the other side, I therefore think it may be necessary to say that the notification continues to remain valid until dispensed. For the Opposition’s edification it is still a notification before Parliament.
“Therefore, it is still valid and will remain pending until it is complete then it will return to the President’s House for her attention."
She said for the Opposition Leader to claim there was nothing before Parliament on appointing a commission member showed "how disconnected she is from what goes on at the Parliament.”
Worse, Robinson-Regis said, to "accuse the President of not consulting her as required by the Constitution is quite another matter and clearly shows Mrs Persad-Bissessar’s incompetence, and I question her relationship with the truth.
“It appears that Kamla Persad-Bissessar should have attended a tea party rather than a cocktail party prior to sending out her last statement to the media accusing Her Excellency of being less than honest.”
Robinson-Regis was referring to Persad-Bissessar’s comment about a “Bishop’s tea party,” alluding to the secondary school that the President and PSC chairman Bliss Seepersad attended.
She said sheI trusted Persad-Bissessar would apologise to the President and the nation and suggested she should get into the in the habit of "taking her constitutional role seriously and was paying attention to her duties instead of always being a fly in the ointment."The Police Service Commission at present does not have a quorum, two members having resigned last week after a disagreement over a decision to suspend former Commissioner Gary Griffith from his acting appointment.