Deyalsingh: Volney was often my ears and eyes in St Joseph

Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh. Photo by Ayanna Kinsale
Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh. Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh described former justice minister the late Herbert Volney as "controversial, flamboyant and vocal," but said Volney often acted as his eyes and ears in the St Joseph constituency, which both of them in turn represented as MP.

Deyalsingh led tributes on Friday in the House of Representatives to the deceased judge-turned-politician, who died on Wednesday.

He said a wife had lost a husband, children a father and the constituency's RC community a valued member.

Deyalsingh said Volney supported him in the 2013 by-election, which was called after Volney had to resign the seat on leaving the UNC after being fired as a minister when he was blamed for the Section 34 scandal. It saw Deyalsingh win the seat for the PNM, which had previously held it by way of Kennedy Swaratsingh.

Volney also supported him in the 2015 and 2020 general elections, the minister said.

Deyalsingh said the two men developed a collegial relationship, such that the local parish priest once teased them for ostensibly being from opposing political parties, but coming together in the house of God.

Deyalsingh said Volney would often call him, especially to highlight problems arising in areas such as Champs Fleurs, recalling such a call as recently as last week.

"He'd always reach out to me to solve issues."

Deyalsingh said Volney's widow, Trisha Mohan-Volney, had asked him to publicly express her thanks for the public support given to her at this time of distress.

Deyalsingh described Volney as a Caribbean man, as he was educated variously in Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts, Dominica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.

He related Volney's career in the Office of Director of Public Prosecution, the chambers of Karl Hudson-Phillips and the Judiciary.

"We have lost a colleague. May his memory be a blessing to us."

Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh said Volney was "a quintessential Caribbean man" who was very proud of his Dominican heritage. He recalled Volney's huge efforts to get building materials to help after Dominica was battered by a hurricane.

Indarsingh said Volney had been the first minister of justice under the People's Partnership government. He said he had "a sense of flair, a sense of wit, and was a man of many words."

The MP said, "Sometimes, the way he'd put it across, you'd remember him for that delivery."

Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George recalled Volney's transition from High Court judge to MP for St Joseph.

"Moving from the Judiciary, where law is interpreted, to Parliament where law is made, requires some reorientation.

"But Mr Volney, from his contributions in this House, may have been considered to have adapted easily, contributing – and I dare say with fervour – to many debates, including the Anti-Gang Bill 2010, the Miscellaneous Provisions (Ministry of Justice Bill) 2011, and the Legal Aid and Advice Bill 2011.

"Mr Volney was also a member of the Public Accounts (Enterprises) Committee and the joint select committee on legislative proposals on public procurement and the repealing and replacing of the Central Tenders Board Act."

Expressing her condolences to Volney's family, she asked MPs to stand in respect for one minute of silence.


"Deyalsingh: Volney was often my ears and eyes in St Joseph"

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