Ragbir: I Stand by My Vote

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

OPPOSITION MP Dr  Rai Ragbir voted in favour of a Government bill but it does not mean he is not loyal to the United National Congress (UNC). 

The Cumuto/Manzanilla MP defended his decision to vote “yes” for the Whistleblower Protection Bill, 2022 in the House of Representatives on Friday, much to the dismay and shock of some of his colleagues. 


In a subsequent social media message, Dr Ragbir said he understands the disappointment but he simply could no longer vote along party lines. 

“I stand by my vote,” he stated. 

Dr Ragbir posted, “Having read the legislation carefully and consulting legal experts, it is my view that this legislation will benefit the people of Trinidad and Tobago as it will be tool to fight against corruption. 

“I understand that some of my colleagues will be disappointed in my decision today, however, I must point out that no caucus was ever held in relation to discussing this important piece of legislation, nor were my views solicited from the Chief Whip or the Leader of the Opposition.” 


According to Dr Ragbir, it has become normal in the Opposition to neglect important pieces of legislation. 

“Far too often important pieces of legislation are brought to MPs without any research, consultation with constituents/ stakeholders or discussion among parliamentary colleagues,” he wrote. 

Dr Ragbir said his vote was for his constituents. 

“Simply voting party lines on this piece of legislation troubled me greatly in particular because as MP for Cumuto/ Manzanilla, I have received numerous complaints about the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation, but unfortunately when I told persons to take their complaints to the police, they were afraid of victimization, reprisals and losing their jobs in the Corporation.  

“I therefore voted to give these persons and other constituents a chance to bring their complaints forward without fear and in the interest of Trinidad and Tobago.” 


As a medical doctor focusing on health, he also believed in the health of good governance, transparency and accountability. 

Dr Ragbir wrote, “No doubt, in an effort to deflect from her own absence from Parliament and failure to lead a competent process in considering this bill, the leader of the opposition or some of her acolytes will simply shout that I no longer support the UNC. I reaffirm that I remain loyal to the members of the UNC because this legislation is in their interest. I am confident that history will prove me right on this issue.” 


Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, MP for Tabaquite Anita Haynes-Alleyne and Minister of Planning and Development Pennelope Beckles were all granted leaves of absence for Friday’s sitting. 

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