Basdeo Panday suspended over laptop

By Anthony Milne
Saturday 29th March, 2008

Basdeo PandayPandemonium broke out in the Lower House yesterday as Speaker Barendra Sinanan suspended Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday for using his laptop without permission.

The Speaker relied on Standing Order 43 (12) to suspend Panday and the sitting ended at 2.15 pm, 45 minutes after it started.

Following the order paper, government ministers answered questions and then it was time for debate on a private motion on rising food prices brought by Naparima MP Nizam Baksh.

Sinanan said: “Before I put the question, I wish to remind members of a circular I gave on February 25, concerning the use of electronic devices.

“I also wish to remind you of the rule that for the use of such technology, members must seek the permission of the Speaker before using such devices during debate,” he added.

An Opposition member shouted: “A backward approach!”

The Speaker continued: “Secondly, if permission is granted, use must be confined to refreshing one’s mind or seeking notes or making amendments to notes during debate, and the member must intend to respond on the date for which permission was sought.”

He had noticed that the Couva North MP Panday had a laptop computer on his desk.

“Hon Member for Couva North, are you contributing to the debate before this House today?” the Speaker asked.

Panday looked away and remained silent, as crosstalk rose.

“If he is not contributing to the debate today, and he has not asked permission to use his computer for the purpose of contributing to the debate today, I am asking him to put away the computer,” the Speaker declared.
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Sunday, March 30th 2008

Panday says he’s prepared for jail
OPPOSITION LEADER, Basdeo Panday, said that after a good night’s sleep, he feels that he has a lot of work to do to preserve the democracy in Trinidad and Tobago following his parliamentary suspension on Friday. He told Sunday Newsday, yesterday: “I do not feel any different about Friday. If anyone feels any differently, they are still in mental slavery by the People’s National Movement. People do not realise what is going on.”

Former speakers weigh in on Panday suspension

PM: We won’t save Panday
Government is not prepared to encourage the importing of lawlessness into the Parliament, through the Leader of the Opposition, Prime Minister Patrick Manning said yesterday. And therefore his Government will not validate Basdeo Panday’s behaviour last Friday by initiating or supporting a resolution overturning his suspension from the Parliament, the Prime Minister added. Manning said the lawlessness manifested itself in Panday’s refusal to accept the authority of the Speaker.

Clear case of disrespect
Newspaper headlines claim that Mr Panday was suspended from Parliament “for using laptop.” This is misleading. He was suspended for persistently refusing to obey the Speaker: he wilfully disregarded the chair’s authority.

Saturday, March 29th 2008

Bas defies Speaker

Bas Suspended from Parliament for using laptop
Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday has been suspended from Parliament for the remainder of the session, which can extend until December 16, 2008, House Speaker Barry Sinanan confirmed yesterday.

Opposition MPs plan to buck the Speaker
The rift continues to widen between Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday and Speaker of the House of Representatives Barendra Sinanan in the aftermath of Panday’s suspension from yesterday’s sitting…

‘Shame’ in the House
The Parliament Chamber was a scene of turmoil yesterday as tempers flared, insults were hurled and the police force was ordered to remove Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday over his use of a laptop.

Bas vows to return
House Speaker Barry Sinanan will have to expel all 15 UNC members of Parliament because they are all coming with the laptops at the next sitting.

We’ll sue Speaker

31 thoughts on “Basdeo Panday suspended over laptop”

  1. MPs have been allowed to bring mobile telephones, BlackBerrys and laptop computers into the Canadian Commons for a number of years.

    Since December 2004, when the Canadian chamber received a number of technological upgrades, MPs have had access to wireless Internet. Unlike many work environments, however, there are no restrictions placed on what websites politicians can look at.

    This Panday story has been carried by the Canadian Press and other international news organizations.It is being discussed with disbelief and amusement.The rules of the Speaker seem quite regressive and uninformed. This does not excuse Mr. Panday however, for his defiant behavior. He should have advocated many years ago for the technological modernization of the Parliament.
    The whole fiasco makes T&T appear quite archaic. One would think that a nation bent on the pursuit of first world status by 2020 would have welcomed technological advances.
    One also wonders if the arrogant attitude of the Speaker and the uncompromising reaction of the government characterize the manner in which institutions operate in Trinidad and tobago.

  2. Mr. Carl Rampersad’s comments usually make sense. Speaking as he has on this issue, and comenting from Canada, his comments lack relevance most of the way. Trinidad and Tobago is not archaic when it comes to Parliamentary Procedure, and the rules of the house. The speaker clearly asked whether Mr.Panday planned to speak on the motion before the house. He did not say he was so intending.
    Mr.Panday’s continuing disrespect for the house he struggled so hard to get back into, going all the way to the Privy Council, then begging the electorate to give him one more chance should make TnT a laughing stock in that his foolish constituency elected him to be the tantrum thrower- a three year old child-in the respected house of the legislature.

    I have long maintained that alcohol kills brain cells, and they do not regenerate. If Mr. Panday needs assistance with a laptop or other device, all he had to do was ask the speaker’s permission. Perhaps he had typed some notes at home in some of his more lucid moments, and wanted to recall them, all he had to do was ask, but asking was the problem because Panday sees himself as a law unto himself, and not subject to the laws of any state, committee or even of humanity as a whole.

    This is the issue here: Is such a person to be allowed to disrupt the running of the people’s business, ad infinitum ad nauseam?

    Each group and organization has the right to create house rules for its good governance. Becoming a member of such a group means accepting the rules as given, until such time as one can move a motion, and get enough support, to change those rules.

    Mr.Panday’s pettiness in continuing to defy the speaker, and trying to reduce the honorable house to fistfights as has happened in India and Nepal and other eastern parliaments in recent times, is beneath contempt. There is no defending him.

    This is another attempt to distract the government from its business, waste taxpayers money, and get paid for not working. The computer should have been siezed so that the whole world could know what he was working on, while pretending to do the people’s business.

    I hope he knows that the minute he sues, the computer will become evidence.I hope he knows enough computerese to know he cannot permanently erase what he was working on.

  3. “Trinidad and Tobago is not archaic when it comes to Parliamentary Procedure, and the rules of the house”
    I totally agree with Linda Edwards, however I was not questioning Parliamentary procedure or the rules of the House,I was simply suggesting that in any Parliament, legislators should be trusted with the responsible use of laptops and other technological devices which improve their performances.
    I guess Linda is suggesting that legislators in the context of T&T are not mature and responsible enough to properly utilize such technologies to conduct the people’s business.
    What is unfortunate here is once again the House is embroiled in an issue which distracts from the important business of the people. And once again the Opposition is preparing to go to war on this issue while missing the mark on much more relevant issues.

  4. Mr. Rampersad, rules are rules. If the Government (PNM/UNC-A) believes a change needs to be made, then go through the proper channels and make the change.

    You said “Since December 2004, when the Canadian chamber received a number of technological upgrades, MPs have had access to wireless Internet. Unlike many work environments, however, there are no restrictions placed on what websites politicians can look at.” That is good for them.

    “The whole fiasco makes T&T appear quite archaic” That appearance, if true, maybe because people are not looking at the true picture. Most people are looking at the headlines that a writer made up to capture a sensational headline/story. It does not make T&T backwards or immature. The USA government does not allow electronic devices in their sittings. So is the US government archaic or do they think the Senators and Representatives are immature or irresponsible? Electronic devices are allowed with permission only.

    The issue at hand is that Pandy has no respect for anyone in authority and if he is not chief, then no one can tell him anything.

    “One also wonders if the arrogant attitude of the Speaker and the uncompromising reaction of the government characterize the manner in which institutions operate in Trinidad and Tobago” To turn around and lay blame on the Speaker who is in charge of the HOUSE during sittings and the PNM is absolute nonsense. When you make rules in YOUR house and they are not followed, do you consider yourself arrogant for enforcing them or questioning the person for breaking them? Do you turn around and blame your wife or any other person that followed the rules for supporting you? This is the same nonsense why the crime situation in T&T is the way it is. We cover up bad behavior and blame others. We always find a way to justify someone’s wrong, even if it is ever so slight.

    He was WRONG point blank. He was DISRESPECTFUL point blank. He was RIGHTFULLY suspended point blank. We as a people need to take responsibility for our actions and inactions. TELL IT AS IT IS. If you wrong, you are wrong, if you are right, you are right, stop making excuses for bad behavior. Everyone needs to do the right thing at all times. NUFF SAID

  5. I believe the comparison that need to be made with Canada is at the level of tolerance for disrespect given to the position of Speaker of the House. The fact that certain electronic devices are allowed use in the Canadian Parliament does not make the actions of the Speaker of the Trinidad House repressive. What stands out poignantly in this affair is the childish arrogance displayed by the leader of the opposition to the Speaker’s attempts to enforce the rules of the house. And I suspect that those removed from affiliations in T&T, whether they be in Canada and elsewhere, when they look at this will be more stunned at the adoloscent attitude and behaviour of Basdeo Panday, than they are over the lateness of the T&T house in catching up with the technological developments of the first world.

    I can agree that the development of Technology require some tweaking of the rules of the T&T Parliament. I believe that members should have access to things like lap tops during debates, since being able to refresh their memories and the like can only enhance the level of the debate on issues crucial to the interest of the nation. But that is not the point in issue, and it requires a great leap of context to take it there. The point in issue is the Honourable MP of COUVA NORTH’s parliamentary indiscipline, which loudly suggests that he should be exempted from adherence to the rules of the house. I wonder if he would tolerate a similar tone of indiscipline behaviour from his kids or grand-kids.

  6. This entire debacle is disgusting. Panday obviously does not like to play by the rules if he does not agree with them. A rule was set and if you want to be part of the House you have to go by its rules. You can’t play in the World Cup and want to disregard the off-side rule because you don’t like it.

    That being said…the rule regarding the use of the laptop is so foolish, only a technologically incompetent and backward thinking person would agree with it. Why walk to parliament with a stack of documents when it can all be carried in the laptop? A computer can provide easy reference material so as Panday said, can be used to cross reference what another person is saying in real time. I have seen members of both sides reading Time and other magazines or sleeping or talking amongst themselves while proceedings are going on. How is the laptop any more distracting that that…assuming the person on the laptop isn’t listening to MP3s or playing World of Warcraft.

    Of course some people will jump on this opportunity to rip apart Panday and I can’t blame them because Panday continuously sets himself up for this with his child like behaviour. However I fail to see the relevance of accusing him of being perpetually drunk and having rear lucid moments. Calling his constituents foolish goes one step further and insults people who know that they can get more (however little that may be) out of him than another representative – kind of like the people of Lavantille always voting PNM despite little to no improvement in their standards of living over the last few years. As a side note, for Linda’s information, YES, you CAN permanently delete information from a laptop….that statement shows that you do not know as much as you think you do about technology so maybe that’s why you would tend to agree with the rule about laptops. Maybe you know less about aircraft that that is why you choose to remain silent on that topic…I hope so and not because in your eyes like so many others, the PNM can do no wrong.

  7. A Dictionry for Riaz- foolish according to Oxford Standard, means lacking in good judgment, ridiculous.
    Inasmuch, therefore as the constituents of Couva North had enough prior information about Basdeo Panday’s tantrum throwing, calling derogatory names, belittling others and his corruption situation that has been set aside but not completely cleared, inasmuch as he had begged to be re-sent to the house so he could go out”in a laze of Glory,” and hs constituents ignored all the evidence to send him back, they were acting foolishly- without good judgment, ridiculously.

    Now what “plane were we talking about here? Has Panday flown somewhee?

  8. I live in a technologically advanced society.
    I am required to turn off my phone in church, at the movies, at concert halls, in the courts, even while participating in a marriage.
    Laptops are not allowed in a number of places.\Cameras are not allowed in some exhibits of museums- and, you can comply or stay home.

    Societies without rules are savage societies.

    Now, when I applied to be a citizen of the country I now live in, in the 70’s, one of the questions on the form was: Have you ever committed adultery?

    I found the question totally offensie, but it was there and all would be citizens had to and=swer it. Later, partly due to protests by various people, the offensive question was removed.

    Society is run by rules everywhere in the world. Mr. Dookeran, in his comments in the Express today, used the word foolish also. I find the rule of backing off from the British Monarch foolish, and so, if I was invited to meet the queen, I would not go. I do not walk well backwards.

    Foolish rules are someone else’s rules that intemperate, petulant people do not want to follow, but a want to be in the setting anyway.

  9. Panday has no intention of casually playing by any rules, especially now when he knows that if he waits for the next general election he may be too old to be considered for leadership of this country. He would use every opportunity to fan the flames of descent. He has it in for the House Speaker and did not want to yield to his authority. It is not that Panday was suspended because of the laptop, but more accurately, for failing to comply with the instructions of the House Speaker.

    The bigger issue here shows what is wrong with Trinidad and Tobago. It appears that once some people support a political party the only wrongs they see or are willing to publicly speak about are wrongs done by other parties. They give the impression that their party can do no wrong.

    Panday was obviously wrong and I saw a comment similar to what Ruel spoke about as “’a piling on’ by elements rabidly antipathetic to the object of their derision” being directed to him. I am sure that some people who support the PNM would have no problem with that. When a similar line and tone is used in respect to Patrick Manning, some PNM supporters feel that the posters are being excessive and personal. People’s emotions are obviously not tied to the truth but to political parties, and truths are twisted to suit political agendas.

    This is exactly the reason there would not be consensus on how to address serious problems in Trinidad and Tobago.

  10. I spoke about piling on in repect of the comments that the ceremonial head of Trinidad and Tobago should give detailed descriptions of the solutions to crime. There is a great distinction between the enmity that was transparently obvious in that thread, and my response to Panday’s faux pas. The issue was not between Panday and the PNM. The issue was Panday’s disrespect for the people’s house.

    Still, regardless of where one comes down, my central point is being made here. To wit, that regardless of claims of objectivity of most of us, ethnicity rules when it comes down to the nitty gritty. Because it cannot be by mere act of happenstance that the opinions always seem to come down along the lines they do. The difference is that others are not prepared to look inwards, but believe that they can still p-lay the game. Examination of the trend suggest that the whistle has been blown eons ago.

  11. Beckles: Bas got laptop warning
    DEPUTY SPEAKER Pennelope Beckles yesterday disclosed that Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday had been warned before last Friday’s sitting of the House of Representatives about not using a laptop computer during a sitting if he was not going to contribute to the debate.

    Senate upholds computer rules
    LEADER OF Government Business in the Senate, Conrad Enill, yesterday said all senators know that they must obtain the Senate President’s permission to use laptops during any sitting of the Senate. He said this rule was in place while Dr Linda Baboolal was Senate President during the Eighth Parliament and remains in effect today.

    ‘Laptop fight’ saddens Dookeran
    House Speaker Barry Sinanan tried to enforce a “stupid” laptop rule, giving Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday the chance to create a spectacle of himself, and the loser was the people, said Congress of the People leader Winston Dookeran.

  12. Linda, your comments on this topic are true to form. You will never admit being wrong. You prefer to argue the definition of an English word. Here you conveniently use one of the many meanings for the word “foolish” to backtrack on your hastily typed words. By your meaning, the entire population of Trinidad is foolish. As a teacher you know that the word carries more than that simple meaning in the context you used it.

    Don’t play “foolish” by pretending you don’t know what plane I’m talking about. I was trying to draw a parallel to show that when a non-PNM political figure does something wrong, everyone in this blog is down on their throats…and rightly so. But none of the hardcore PNM persons here said a word about the plane and CA…only a couple of obviously fanatical people saw nothing wrong with the purchase and worse yet, the way the population was treated like a set of “fools” by certain Ministers.

    Which brings me to disagree with Ruel on the point that sides are always taken on the basis of ethnic background. Clearly, myself and Carl (basing names on ethnicity and assuming we’re not using nom de plums) are saying Panday is wrong…which is the main issue. Personally I think proceedings will run much smoother with him out of Parliament.

    What we’re both pointing out is the draconian nature of the rule – since the UNC always accuses the speaker of being a PNM puppet, it looks pretty bad that he would have a rule that hampers MPs from quickly accessing information for rebuttals during debates. Either that or
    1. the speaker is technologically inept and thinks all electronics are a disturbance.
    2. maybe he’s a dinosaur who can’t tell the difference between turning off a cell phone at a funeral and using a computer at work.
    3. He’s like a boss I once had who was a control freak and you needed to ask him permission for everything, which lead to time wasted seeking his approval and lower productivity.

  13. Your problem, Riaz, is that you want people to play by your rules, and yours only. An idependent minded person like me, has no business commenting, unless I comment on all and everything, in you opinion. That is foolish. Last time I checked, my country of first citizenship was an English -speaking country, that’s the language of this discussion, Robet’s Rules of Order for Parliamentary Procedure was being followed, and the tradition of cvility to the chair was still in effect.

    Now learned lawyers have always claimed that the law is an ass, especially when it does not suit their convenience. If so, change it. Being foolishly defiant is the behaviour of a petulant child. Dooks knows it, Bas knows it. If this is the only way he can get attention, he will take it. Let’s see if this can go on till December. As for me, I am done here. I always give notice. I live by my word, it does not matter what you or anyone else says, this is my last word on this subject.

  14. Moderators,

    Isn’t there an ignore button somewhere that we can simply click on to make the likes of Linda Edwards just go away?

  15. Sinnanan’s actions do little to dispel the perception of bias and that he has to sing, and sing loud for his PNM supper.

    While he was within his right to do what he did, he must not be selective in the enforcement of his rights. PNM members reading newspapers, chatting animatedly among theselves while members are making their contributions are just as disrespectful to the House and no less distracting to other members. Worse yet, the Prime Minsietr sleeping, snoring, albeit softly, as he frequently does, is just as intolerable and should also incur the Speaker’s sanction.

    But say what? Sing Barry, Sing! Sing loud for your Hobson’S/PNM supper!

  16. Linda Edwards wrote:

    “As for me, I am done here. I always give notice. I live by my word, it does not matter what you or anyone else says, this is my last word on this subject.”

    Glory Halleluja!

    Praise The Lord!

    He does answer prayers.

  17. Some research into this Laptop matter has revealed that it was the Speaker who initiated the use of laptops in the House and Senate. The Speaker also circulated by memo, a detailed list of the rules governing the use of laptops in the House. These rules were quite clear to all parties.They were reasonable.
    If the Opposition had any objections to these rules, they should have requested a meeting with the Speaker to resolve these issues at that time.To challenge the rules after the Speaker assumed that they were satisfactory to all, is indeed irresponsible and attention seeking.
    It seems that Mr. Panday will do anything to get Media attention. Now he is “ready and willing to make a jail “. I guess he will have one more opportunity to falsely compare himself to Ghandi, Martin Luther King and Mandela.

  18. Again…true to form Linda! Never back down even if it means mad, incoherant ramblings and ending with “I done.”
    To call yourself “independent minded” is a joke. As another poster said:

    “It appears that once some people support a political party the only wrongs they see or are willing to publicly speak about are wrongs done by other parties. They give the impression that their party can do no wrong. ”

    Good point Carl…but maybe as I and LadyBird mentioned, I’m sure there are rules that you can’t read magazines, ole-talk or sleep while Session begins but everyone disregards those as well. What is good for the goose should also be good for the gander.

  19. Never trust those who perform acrobatic feats of reasoning in order to impeach the validity of an inconvenient truth. If people cannot abide by rules, regardless of how archiac they are, they should get out of the game. It is no wonder that T&T is in the state it is in. And these are the same people who jump on a pedestal and lambaste the PNM for not follwing rules.

    “Thou hypocrites, beating on thy chest and praying loudly in the streets so men might hear thee and equate thy noise with fealty to the word”. “Thine iniquity is laid bare by the alacrity with which ye proceed to rally against the one who sought to enforce the rule, not merely because of who he is by himself, but because of they to whom he is attached to”.

    T&T will remain in the state it is in or become worse as the years go by. It is a pity the country is not large enought so it could have been split into two and allow each side to chart its own course. There comes a time in life when one has to throw up ones hand and become resigned to an inevitablity. And the inevitability with respect to T&T is that it is two nations, will always be two nations, and never the twain shall meet.

  20. These comments by Clevon Raphael in the Guardian should put this topic to rest.

    What madness has taken or is taking over sweet T&T?

    That was my gut reaction to the fiasco in the House of Representatives last Friday when Speaker Barry Sinanan, threw out Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday after he refused to respect the authority of the chair (Speaker).

    What did the irrepressible Panday did to earn the wrath of Speaker Sinanan?

    Panday refused to tell him whether he had any intention of speaking in the debate at hand which, if the answer was in the affirmative, he could have continued using, or playing, with the government-supplied laptop while the Lower House was in session.

    Apparently there is some agreement between the Speaker and the parliamentary representatives that the latter could use, or play with, their laptops with the permission of the chair.

    When the question was put to the Leader of the Opposition if he would be contributing to the debate he quite rightly explained he could not say unless he heard what direction it was taking.

    The matter at hand was a motion (private members) and moved by the opposition member for Cumuto/Manzanilla Harry Partap, which criticised the Government for allegedly failing to contain rising food prices.

    Panday also refused to stop using, or playing with, his laptop and for this major infringement, this earth shattering act of disobedience on the part of the member for Couva North, Speaker Sinanan invoked his authority and asked the police put him out the chamber as ordered.

    Mercifully the police hesitated and Mr. Panday was spared the sorry spectacle of being taken down by the police, not that that is any thing strange to him.

    As readers of this column would know by now I am of the firm belief that the biggest problem in this country is indisciplined—from top to bottom—and from that flows all our other major problems.

    So I do not easily countenance deliberate flouting of the rules and regulations at home—that’s where the indiscipline starts—or elsewhere.

    But on sober reflection after the facts of this incident as reported in the news media, was the Speaker’s action as they would say in industrial relations lingo, harsh and oppressive?

    In other words was Panday’s crime deserving of his punishment meted out by Speaker Sinanan– indefinite suspension?

    Although the suspension was said to be indefinite in that no date of its duration was fixed by the Speaker, there was one report that it could last at as long as the end of this parliamentary session in December.

    But it could come to an end before that time if a motion is so moved to have the suspension lifited from the irrepressible Panday.

    Even though a rational person would agree that Panday was being extremely petulant and obstinate in his attitude to the authority of the Speaker on that day, was the Speaker morally justified in temporarily banishing Panday even from the precincts of the legislature?

    Mr Speaker, Sir, I beg to submit my considered response is a big fat no, and if my political barometer is reading correctly I think you have played right into Panday’s hands.

    I don’t know if you got up one morning and decided you would not take any more nonsensical behavior from the likes of Mr Panday, and would show them that you are really the boss of your chamber.

    Let’s assume this is so but is the laptop infraction serious enough to warrant hitting Panday on his head with a sledge hammer?

    Or do you know something the rest of the population does not? For instance did Mr Panday’s laptop contain some remote device to trigger some kind of explosion in the august chamber?

    You correctly recalled that he has said he did not plan to contribute to the debates in the parliament and perhaps he was just acting in furtherance of that stance.

    You seem to forget, as if you need to be remained at all, that he also said being on the opposition benches was a waste of time in that nothing said would hardly be—if ever—implemented by the Government.

    He confirmed what former government Minister Hugh Francis told me when he was in charge of the Works portfolio that opposition politics was frustrating politics. So from your superior position in the Lower House one would expect you to be somewhat a bit more indulging in the sometimes “unparliamentary” antics of the opposition legislators.

    I am in no way suggesting Mr Speaker that you allow them to do whatever they want in the highest court of the and, for that could make a mockery of our system of governance.

    What else can we make of Mr Panday’s conduct last Friday?

    He came up with a very transparent plan to put himself once again the national spotlight and unfortunately, it appears Mr Speaker, you have paved the way for part two in this political grandstanding.

    I do not know what he hopes to achieve (if anything tangible) in this game and only time will tell what he is up to. But for now he is firmly on the national front burner and the nation is eagerly awaitng the next move of the Silver Fox.

  21. “What did the irrepressible Panday did to earn the wrath of Speaker Sinanan?”

    Mr. Rampersad, at what length do we as citizens go to accommodate rude, absuive, intolerent, indisciplined and lawless behaviour on the part of parliamentarians? These are the people who are supposed to be making the laws of the country. When a citizen steal, rob and assult hardworking citizens for their own personal benefit people like you do not come to their defence, to the contrary you will quarrel with the judge if the sentence seems to be too lenient, Would’nt you? You need not write a long epistle about the judgement of the Speaker, as if to say he is the culprit that caused the irreprissible Mr. Panday to behave like a four year old infant. In the house of the President, he is the head, in White Hall the PM is the head, in Parliament the speaker is the head, in the senate, the president of the senate is the head, in the house of the opposition leader, Mr. Panday is the head and so on…………..
    Point is for each body there are rules to be observed as an attendee. Sometimes when one disobey these rules an example must be set in terms of punishment, especially one who knows better but flagrantly and constantly disobey them. That behaviour is the one whom you appear to want to defend, to use the words of Ruel Daniels, by being “acrobatic” with your reasoning. There are times when we should be satisfied with the reasoning that “it is either right or wrong”, the buts and maybes tend to distort the facts and consequences.

  22. Ruel wrote:

    ” It is a pity the country is not large enought so it could have been split into two and allow each side to chart its own course.”

    You want one side to starve? And when famine descend in dey tail they will launch cross border attacks to take by brute force and violence the food and riches of the more prosperous neighbouring state.

    But wait! Wake up LadyBird! Dat happenning right now. Except dey ent tiefing food because dey ent starving yet.

    Reminds me of Guyana in the 1960s when Forbes Burnham distributed farm lands on lease to prospective farmers from the two major ethnic groups. His Government also gave them supplies of corn, seedlings of various food crops, poultry and live stock to get started. When Burnmham visited the farms some two years later he saw all the farms that were operated by one ethnic group prospering while the farms operated by the other group were in states of neglect and abandonment.

    “Wha happen here Comrades?” Burnham thundered. “Where all the crops and animals?”

    “We eat dem. And yuh give dem to we to eat?” was the collective response.

  23. But I digressed. Now back to topic.

    Sinnanan continues to strengthen opposition accusations of bias and claims that he is an Agent of the PNM. He continues to play into their hands.

  24. The Speaker of the House of Assembly is the final authority in the lower house, and though he is guided by parliamentaary rules and regulations (the blue book), members are bound to abide by rulings of whomever sits in that chair at the top of the aisle dividing government and opposition.

    Mr hunt put away his laptop as instructed. Kudos to him, especially as a newcomer to the house of assembly. Shouldn’t the leader of the opposition who has sat in that place for so long know better.

    Even more worrying is the support given by the other opposition members to Mr. Panday for what is nothing short of childish, disrespectful behaviour.

    The discourtesy so oft displayed in the parliamentary chamber is actually just another symptom of a greater malaise affecting not so sweet TnT.

    If the lawmakers do not respect the rule of law, how can they expect those whom they represent to act any differently.

    Nuff said.

  25. You want one side to starve? And when famine descend in dey tail they will launch cross border attacks to take by brute force and violence the food and riches of the more prosperous neighbouring state.

    Yeah right, like they starving in Barbados where Guyanese Indians are flocking to rather than staying under the administration of the Indian Government in Guyana. Check out your history. Checkout the migratory trends in the world. There are more none whites flocking to regions with large African concentrations than there are otherwise.

    That myth might make your puny racist heart and ego feel good, but it is what is is. A masturbatory ethnic fondling by a bunch of transplanted bigots.

  26. If the lawmakers do not respect the rule of law, how can they expect those whom they represent to act any differently.

    Well for many of and from Trinidad and Tobago laws and rules are governed by the equal and equaller principle. If this board is an example of the decision making process that will come into place if the PNM is removed, African Trinidadians had better begin to close ranks in emulation of their counterparts of other ethnic groupings.

    The justification for the assault on the PNM comes from the bigotted mindsets that Africans will starve if they are on their own, or Africans need to learn life skills from Indians and others. These are not suppositions. These are posits that emanate from the clique that attempts to place Africans on a guilt trip for supporting the PNM. Africans would be fools to give credence to natterings of a posse joined at the psyche by a common disposition.

    Wake up African Trinidadians. As bad as the PNM might is alleged to be, read some of the sentiments of this blog and figure out if you will be better off with mindsets like some in here calling the shots. Your kids will be preemtively discriminated against, the rules for them will not be the same as the rule for those of the ruling echelons, and they will be regarded as coming from a race that will die if left on its own, as well as one incapable of gathering life lessons unto themselves. Wake up! Read what they are saying about you in broad daylight and tell them to piss off.

  27. LadyBird and Ruel Daniels are engaging in the type of dialogue which is certainly not helpful to the debate. It is not necessary to lower the level of discussion to the least common denominator. I do not believe that the people of T&T are so racially divided. There is competition between the races, but not outright prejudice and discrimination as alluded to by these writers.
    Linda Edwards brags about being African, but how many Trinis can say conclusively that they are not of mixed race?
    Ruel is upset about negative comments regarding African-Trinidadians, but does not realize that Barbados is run by Whites. They control the government and all construction and business, much to the annoyance of Bajans.
    The fact is that there are too many failing African countries in the World. A productive approach would be to discuss why.
    In Trinidad the ” African” population seems to be adding too much to the crime statistics. Let’s discuss why.

  28. In any society where economic discrimination is targeted against a group, that group will dominate crime statistics. Is there no crime in India. How many successful Indian States are there. Was the economic boom in India indigenous or was it not helped by the migration of white owned microsoft. And the same thing can be said about China. The difference between African States and those other states is that Africans allow outsiders to control more than they would be allowed if they were in those countries. The difference is that outsiders enjoy a level of acceptance in African nations that Africans would not and cannot enjoy in theirs.

    There can never be a balanced debate on anything when you guys equate blatant racist comments that are reminiscent of supremacist organizations in the South of the US with mine and Linda Edwards African Consciousness. It is this kind of skewed reasoning that the anti-black racist posse in this forum piggy back on and use as the paradigm for their prejudice.

    How come with all of those Indian and other exclusive ethnic organizations in Trinidad and Tobago concern is only generated when African consciousness surfaces? How come they are never cautioned in the midst of their expressions that they might be mixed. What a bunch of bull. Imagine, every other ethnic group in Trinidad and Tobago has been organizing and promoting their heritage from time immemorial. From Kangal to the Maharaj’s there are Indianists whose prism of T&T, whose vision of T&T, is the existence of a facsimile of India complete with the ancient caste order. But Ruel Daniels and Linda Edwards are overly African conscious. I do not blame you guys for your predispositon to insult our intelligence. I blame us for contributing to the illusion that you can still get away with it.

    When someone makes the claim that black people will starve if they are left on their own there is no room for discussion or reason. At least not with me. You guys embrace these comments because it does something for your egos, and then begin goading others to pile on the PNM. One only need to peruse the strain of this blog to see the trend. So I stand by what I wrote.

    Most of the critics of the PNM in here are motivated more by the fact that a blackman is at the head of the T&T Government than they are by anything else. Their vituperations were virtually absent when Panday was in power and money was finding its way into accounts linked to him, while he was denying awareness of how it got there. Here we have him behaving like a spoilt child in Parliament and true to form they concentrate their venom on the speaker for following the rules. His crime. He is associated with Manning. Give me break I say. There were too many prototypes of youse guys throughout the historical African experience for some not recognize the pattern.

    To hell with this garbage about debating African involvement in crime, crime did not begin with Africans. The focus is concentrated there in order to obscure the nasty underbelly of involvement by master minds who are of a different hue. You guys carry on this conversation in your bottom house meetings anyway. Continue to have at it and kill the ambition to recruit negros to flagellate themselves in order to fulfill the perverse prejudice of others.

  29. I stated that I was African, Gary, that was not a boast, but a fact. OK. I am as African as Barack Obama and Tiger Woods, where one is a person, until one takes a stand. I am as African as the Indians from South India, including Goa are Indian. I am as African as the Europens of Spain, France and western Europe and the Americas are European. They are all mixed blood peoples. The bloods of the conquerror and the forcibly enslaved run through all these viens.

    Now, Derek Walcott, in Omeros, acknowledges his European ancestor, a sailor who dropped some seed into an African woman and never looked back. I do not acknowledge mine, although our family knows that green eyes and red hair turn up, unannounced, every two or three generations. I am an African woman, whose ancestors had two villages named for them,in Trinidad,one on each side of the family. All of the others are flavorings, that basically do not change the nature of who I am. Cinnamon flavored coffee is coffee, cafe au lait is coffee, caramel nut coffee is coffee. Cocoa and tea are other beverages. Simple enough?

  30. well i feel that barry sinnanan dosent show a temperament of a speaker to let it reach where it reached,, panday is looking for political viagra to get his game going as he realises he is in his latter years and has been relegated from yesterday news to no news at all. the only ppl in the limelight these days are jack and ramesh and pandy wanta dollar fame too….poor speaker, get caught hook line and sinker by a yesterday nobody

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