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 Kamla: UNC will Take on Independent Senators

Kamla Persad-Bissessar

Kamla: UNC will Take on Independent Senators

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar lambasted the nine Independent Senators in the Parliament for not voting for the motion put forward by her to have a tribunal investigate President Paula-Mae Weekes.

During the United National Congress (UNC) virtual report on Monday, Persad-Bissessar blamed the senators for keeping the country in the dark about the entire Police Service Commission (PolSC) chaos.

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She said it was one of the most disgraceful things about the vote since independent senators were appointed by the President and therefore would not go against her.

Last Thursday, the motion was defeated in Parliament with 24 members for, 47 against and no abstentions with cries of “shame” from the Opposition when the Independent Senators voted.

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Persad-Bissessar said, “All of the Government MPs and Senators, together with all of the so-called Independent Senators, appointed by the President and can be removed by her, voted to keep secret whether PM Rowley and President Weekes acted in concert to interfere in the PolSC merit list for appointment to the post of Commissioner of Police.

“They did not want the President to be investigated. They voted to treat her like a queen who cannot be questioned. They voted to keep the citizens in the dark, so that we can’t see all the wheeling and dealing in the nooks and crannies of the President’s House. For whatever reason, the Government and Independent Senators seem to like it so. We don’t, and we will continue to fight.”

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Last Thursday, the Government and independent senators voted to keep citizens in the dark as to why for the first time in history,  there was no police commissioner or acting commissioner in place or  an independent PolSC which can appoint a police commissioner,  she said.

Praising the UNC’s efforts, she said because of Opposition pressure, the country now knows that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley lost confidence in former Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith since last year.

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The vote was not about a frivolous issue but “it was a vote about ensuring the sacred principles of our constitution remain intact,” she said.

She expected that Government would not support the motion and even cheat which showed with the disallowance of a debate.

Persad-Bissessar said the reason she called for secret ballot was so that no-one who know who exactly voted for or against the motion.

She said, “So why wasn’t a secret ballot used for this vote? Because this PNM government wanted to put as much pressure on the independent senators as possible.” 

 Do not attack the Opposition 

She also warned Independent Senators to not attack the Opposition.

Persad-Bissessar said, “When all these independent Senators could jump out of themselves to criticise the Opposition for demanding the right to represent the views of the population, but they will never comment on  serious allegations of political interference by the Prime Minister with respect to this appointment of a Commissioner of Police, ask yourself – who are they really representing? Our democracy is being undermined.”

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She stated, “There has been a convention in our country not to attack the independent senators, but those days are over. You will not be allowed to make disparaging comments against the Opposition. We are on your case. We will expose you for who you are.”

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