Vieira's motion 'part of conspiracy to censure UNC senators'

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar - SUREASH CHOLAI
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar - SUREASH CHOLAI

OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar views the Senate motion by Independent Senator Anthony Vieira as nothing but a conspiracy to censure UNC senators.

She believes it is part of a plot by the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) to govern without the Opposition.

“While Dictator Rowley causes hundreds of unnecessary deaths by controlling and politicising the supposedly independent and insulated medical team, we have supposed Independent senators also doing the PNM’s dirty work,” she charged.

She also wants the word "independent" removed from senators' titles and replaced with "presidential," saying nowhere in Constitution does it speak to independent senators.

"The President selects, recruits, appoints and/or disappoints as the case may be.”

In the circumstances, she said "presidential senators" is a more apt designation, given their voting pattern, which she said the majority in time was in favour of the Government. Added to Vieira’s motion, Persad-Bissessar concurred they are not independent.

In his motion, Vieira called on the Senate to censure the unparliamentary conduct of opposition senators who were abusive and made adverse comments and reflections on independent senators during the October 21 meeting of the Electoral College.

Persad-Bissessar contended that the motion, which was debated in the Senate on Tuesday, has no particulars and did not name anyone, rather broad-brushing all the opposition senators. As a lawyer, she said Vieira should be embarrassed and ashamed of this poorly constructed motion which wrongly sought to deal with an Electoral College matter in the Senate.

Persad-Bissessar said the jury is still out on whether it was an Electoral College, as Section 36 speaks to a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament.

She chastised Vieira for "sitting like a mouse" instead of raising objections in accordance with the procedure and protocols during that sitting, coming now to raise it in the Senate, and along with some of his colleagues, "to badmouth the Opposition.

“I told you before, sir, if you want to enter the political gayelle, we will deal with you in the political gayelle.”

She believes Vieira has openly compromised all the "president's senators" by attacking all UNC senators without any specifics.

“By seeking a motion of censure, he is placing the so-called independent senators within a PNM scheme.

“You are now creating a bench. The so-called independent senators have never operated as a bench in the Parliament. Each one is an individual and is expected to conduct him or herself in a very transparent, independent manner.”

While the motion may have no merit, Persad-Bissessar expressed fears that in a "kangaroo court" it could be pushed through and have Opposition members suspended.

“This is because the Senate is not an oversight body independent of the Lower House, as it is supposed to be. It is a fake oversight institution firmly under the control of the PNM, and getting more and more so with each passing day.”

Persad-Bissessar feels while all opposition senators may be censured, it will not stop there, as she argued there was a "tag team" between the "so-called independents" and the PNM.

“The PNM may then recommend that the opposition senators be suspended for the rest of the session, meaning until next September. You see, Dictator Rowley and the PNM want to govern with no Opposition and this is part of the way they will try to do it.

“Senator Vieira may be part of the plot, and we wait to see if the other 'presidential senators; will play along.”

She said even if parliamentary, legal or constitutional options become exhausted, “We will use our political options to fight for your democracy and our democracy.

“We will not let Keith Rowley establish a dictatorship in Trinidad and Tobago.”


"Vieira’s motion ‘part of conspiracy to censure UNC senators’"

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