UNC Ragbir Votes with PNM

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

OPPOSITION Member of Parliament for Cumuto/Manzanilla Dr Rai Ragbir, in an unexpected move, won the favour of Government parliamentarians on Friday. 

Dr Ragbir voted in favour of the Whistleblower Protection Bill 2022 contrary to all his United National Congress (UNC) colleagues who all voted against. 


The look of shock at his answer could be visibly seen especially on Member of Parliament for Moruga/Tableland Michelle Benjamin when his answer was announced.  

Dr Ragbir received the most desk thumping he has ever got as an MP, but from all People’s National Movement (PNM) Government members, who were in agreement with his answer while he garnered stares and confused look from those on his side. 


In the end, 22 members voted in favour, 15 members voted against and there were no abstentions for the bill that was passed. 

Dr Ragbir was also verbally commended for his bold action. 

Minister of Public Utilities Marvin Gonzales said, “I want to commend the actions of my esteemed colleague from Cumuto/Manzanilla, to my colleague from Mayaro that when you wish to seek to lead and to lead a party, you must stand on your own. You must stand on your own two feet. You must stand for integrity, you must stand for honour, you must lead by example  

Dr Ragbir, along with Member of Parliament for Mayaro Rushton Paray and MP for Tabaquite Anita Haynes-Alleyne contested the United National Congress (UNC) internal elections  for the position of political leader on the same slate – the United Patriots (UP) led by Paray. 


The STAR slate led by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar won with a landslide victory. 

Persad-Bissessar was absent from Friday’s sitting. 

The bill was laid in Parliament by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on June 14. 

An explanation of the bill was read following the vote. 

“A bill entitled to combat corruption and other wrong doings by encouraging and facilitating the disclosures of improper conduct in the public and the private sector to protect persons making those disclosures from detrimental action, to regulate the receiving, the investigating or otherwise dealing with disclosures of improper conduct and to provide for other matters connected therewith.” 

Persad-Bissessar, Haynes-Alleyne and Minister of Planning and Development Pennelope Beckles were granted leaves of absence for Friday’s sitting.


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