As motion against President fails, Kamla declares: PM next

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar at a press conference at her office on Charles Street, Port of Spain, on Tuesday afternoon. - SUREASH CHOLAI
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar at a press conference at her office on Charles Street, Port of Spain, on Tuesday afternoon. - SUREASH CHOLAI

Less than a week after she announced  a motion would be filed seeking to remove the President from office, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced plans to file a motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister were under way.

Last Friday Persad-Bissessar said a constitutional motion would be filed seeking the removal of Paula-Mae Weekes, alleging that she was politically influenced in the selection process of a Police Commissioner after a visit from a high office-holder and therefore unfit to continue as President.

The motion was defeated by the Parliament's Electoral College during an extraordinary sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate on Thursday by a vote of 24 members for, 47 members against, with no abstentions.

During the sittings, the microphones of several opposition MPs were muted as they repeatedly interrupted  Speaker Brigid Annisette-George as she tried to proceed with a vote on the motion.

At a media conference at her Charles Street, Port of Spain, office on Thursday, Persad-Bissessar described the failure of the motion as an "attack on democracy" and warned that if it were left unchecked, Trinidad and Tobago''s institutions would be vulnerable to political interference.

She added that her party would continue to raise the issue even after its defeat in Parliament and would start with an "October revolution."

Asked why she chose to file a motion against the President instead of a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister, in which the matter could be debated, Persad-Bissessar said, "It's coming.

"The last time I brought a no-confidence (motion) against the Prime Minister, in 2010, the government fell, so it's coming in due course.

"This matter will be kept alive long after today until the truth is revealed. We will take it on to the people as an October revolution, as happened in other countries when a constitution has failed.

"The Prime Minister will find no rock large enough to hide under or no robe thick enough to protect him from the firestorm that will come his way as a wage for treading on our sacred Constitution."

Asked to refer to which part of the Constitution allowed for debates on parliamentary motions, Persad-Bissessar said it would take more time than the media conference would allow.

"I have to go into so much legalese, which I will do on another day, so for the moment I would prefer to leave it at that."

Persad-Bissessar said the October revolution would include efforts from her party to challenge the government in or out of the Parliament on matters of transparency and governance.

On Wednesday the Office of the President announced that head of wealth management for Firstline Securities Ltd Maxine King and criminologist Ian Ramdhanie had been nominated for appointment to the Police Service Commission (PSC).

Former Judge Judith Jones and accountant Maxine Attong were also being considered.

Persad-Bissessar said while candidates distinguished themselves in their respective fields, she maintained the Opposition would not support them,s as the circumstances of their appointment would be "tainted."

"I have indicated to Her Excellency that the Opposition will not participate in supporting these.

"I am saying they are good men and women, some of them who are patriots and willing to serve, but we do believe they would be tainted and there will always be that distrust that there may be issues of partisanship, and I have already written her on that matter."

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"As motion against President fails, Kamla declares: PM next"

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