Commentary: Missing Parliamentary Duties

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Caption: The Red House where the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago sits.

MISSING parliamentary duties by five Members of Parliament is a serious dereliction of duties and definitely prevented the Opposition from defeating the Government in Parliament on April 26, 2024. 

Missing the vote were Tabaquite MP Anita Haynes Alleyne, who in fact actually requested leave, Naparima MP Rodney Charles, Cumuto/Manzanilla MP Dr Rai Ragbir, Mayaro MP Rushton Paray and Chaguanas West MP Dinesh Rambally. It is not very often the Opposition has the ability to defeat the Government in a debate and make a real impact so this very crucial vote in the House of Representatives to give an extension for the Government to submit its public accounts for Trinidad and Tobago was a very important debate. 

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The opposition leader has every right to reprimand the MPs on this occasion as should the government be defeated on the motion, that could have had a great impact on the outcome and perhaps have repercussions that would really show what your opposition can do for you in Parliament. It was a critical motion, and had the government been defeated, the government would have had a real problem here so crucial was the debate and vote.

The Members of Parliament are elected by the people and we expect them to be there to fight on our behalf when there is a crucial matter. They are a proxy of the people and an imperial arm of our party, elected by the people, to represent us in Parliament. How come five MPs can be absent at the same time and how come it’s the same five calling for internal elections? It seems deliberate to me. 

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Chaguanas West MP Dinesh Rambally, have come out hard recently claiming that the UNC could not win government under leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, but he has never fought an internal election as far as I remember, gone up for a post to support and build the party nor has he fought for the people in his constituency as hard as Kamla Persad-Bissessar has over the last 14 years.

How can you criticise the person who elevated you above many other members that have been fighting for years in the party and given you the opportunity to be a Member of Parliament? Why can’t you deal with this through proper channels? The political leader issue was about attendance of an important debate and where your vote was required to defeat the government. Something that rarely happens in the Parliament with the numbers we have. It’s your duty to be present. 

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MP Rodney Charles also taking to the media now at every opportunity and accusing the same person that has always supported him as an MP, is being disingenuous to say the least and now accusing the leader of not being in Parliament more times than him seems just as a spoilt child looking to point fingers. To blame the next person by saying you have done the same thing in the past. The fact is that the Opposition Leader was in Parliament that fateful day to cast her vote. That cannot be disputed. 

So to all these MPs suddenly finding fault with everything, please, let’s be fair and stop making excuses for not performing your duties as it’s the duty of every elected representative to be present. To do your job as elected representatives and to also not publicly air your laundry in the open. Stop the public onslaught of our Political Leader, the victimhood, the accusations of ostracism and do your job, at least until you are no longer the elected representative. 

Neil Gosine is an insurance executive. He was appointed a temporary Opposition Senator and is also the treasurer of the UNC and a former chairman of the National Petroleum Marketing Company of Trinidad and Tobago. He holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Master’s in Business Administration MBA, BSC in Mathematics and a BA in Administrative Studies. The views and comments expressed in this column are not necessarily those of AZP News, a Division of Complete Image Limited.

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