Mark, Moonilal demand elections: 'Local government is in crisis'
The Opposition on Sunday told Government it could bring legislation to Parliament to clear up the imbroglio over the legality of local government bodies in the wake of Thursday's Privy Council ruling that it was wrong to extend the life of these bodies, but it can't bring laws to seek again a postponement of the local government elections.
Opposition Senator Wade Mark said Government must immediately announce the date for elections even as it seeks to legislate to validate all actions of local government bodies up until last Thursday, when the Privy Council delivered its ruling.
At the UNC's weekly Sunday media briefing, Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal illustrated the real-life effects of the judgment by claiming when garbage trucks were out collecting garbage on Sunday night, the collectors and drivers would not be eligible for payment.
"This is a crisis," Mark stormed at the briefing, saying there was only one way out – local government elections. Warning Government not to try to bring any new law to Parliament to try to extend the current already over-extended term. "Elections must be called now," Mark declared.
He said the only bill Government can now bring to Parliament relative to this matter is one to validate decisions, payments, salaries, allowances and expenditures since December 3 up until last Thursday.
"Dr Rowley and the Cabinet, your days are numbered. Go to President's House. Call elections," Mark thundered.
He scoffed at any suggestion by Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC, that the Privy Council ruling was a victory for Government.
Rejecting the AG's view that, collectively, between the TT High Court and Appeal Court, and the London-based Privy Council, more judges had supported Government's stance over that of activist Ravi Balgobin-Maharaj, Mark said such a statement has made Armour and his government the laughing stock of the entire Caribbean.
"He is competing for space with (stand-up comedian) Tommy Joseph!"
Mark called on the AG to resign.
Moonilal said Government was now in political quicksand due to its manoeuvring in seeking to extend the life of local government bodies by a year.
"Tonight garbage trucks would be passing all over the country and drivers and collectors ent sure they will be paid," Moonilal said.
He too laughed at Armour's arithmetical contortions trying to show that Government had the majority of support over Balgobin-Maharaj across TT's three courts – High, Appeal and Privy Council.
He also hit Armour's warning of possible contempt of court if the media, especially print media, did not put the Privy Council's entire ruling in the papers.
Moonilal said Government has run out of options and must call local government election now.
He claimed the Government was now in hiding over this matter and following the Privy Council's ruling last week.
All of Newsday's efforts on Sunday to reach the Prime Minister, AG Armour and Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi for comment on Government's next step failed, as calls to cellphones were not answered.
"Mark, Moonilal demand elections: ‘Local government is in crisis’"