The Motion of No Confidence in the Prime Minister

PM: Tell dem leave me

By Rhondor Dowlat

PRIME Minister Patrick Manning yesterday made his defence against an Opposition motion of no-confidence not to the Parliament but to Woodford Square, Port-of-Spain where thousands of PNM supporters gathered to stand with him.

Manning was supported by members of his Cabinet and senior PNM officials as they made their way to the square’s bandstand during the 4.30 pm tea break in Parliament. Escorted by a rhythm section, Manning, his wife, Minister of Local Government, Hazel Manning, Health Minister and PNM Public Relations Officer Jerry Narace and other members of the Cabinet made their way through the western gate to the bandstand which was converted into a main stage.
Full Article :

No-Confidence Square-Off

PM: If the leader falls, all fall down

By Asha Javeed

Referring to the Opposition in a fighting mood in Woodford Square in Port-of-Spain yesterday afternoon, Prime Minister Patrick Manning told hundreds of his supporters, “Tell them leave me alone.”

He was referring to the Opposition UNC and its chief whip Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, who had brought forward a motion of no-confidence against him.

Manning was out to defend himself but the jury gathered to hear his case, his party supporters, had all confidence in him.
Full Article :

Ramesh: PM unfit leader

By Sean Douglas

OPPOSITION Chief Whip Ramesh Maharaj said Prime Minister Patrick Manning’s poor response to alleged corruption at Udecott showed he was unfit to be Prime Minister.

This was one of Maharaj’s chief weapons in a motion of no confidence in Manning which he moved in the House of Representatives. Udecott is now subject of a commission of inquiry into the construction sector due to report next September.
Full Article :

CEPEP workers: We were forced to attend rally

By Julien Neaves

WORKERS of the Community Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP) and the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) complained yesterday that they were forced to attend an unofficial People’s National Movement gathering in Woodford Square, Port of Spain, under threat of loss of pay or employment.

CEPEP and URP workers were among the thousands who turned up yesterday to support Prime Minister Patrick Manning, as the Opposition planned to file a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister in Parliament at the Red House, opposite the square.

A female URP worker from the Toco/Manzanilla district said they were told if they did not attend the gathering yesterday they would get no more work.

“That is crap,” she added.
Full Article :

SEPTEMBER 14, 2008

Ramesh charges Works Minister failed to declare assets…

Opposition Chief Whip Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, on Friday night, named Works and Transport Minister Colm Imbert as the man who allegedly failed to disclose a US$6 million account to the Integrity Commission.

No-confidence motion defeated

No-confidence motion flops, Manning triumphs

No-confidence circus a disappointing show
As it turned out, the examination of Prime Minister Patrick Manning’s stewardship since 2001 never did take place in the debate much-ballyhooed as an occasion to hold him up, together with his administration, to critical scrutiny.

Waste of taxpayers’ money
The much-anticipated debate on the motion of no-confidence in the Prime Minister sputtered to a premature end last Friday night.

Ramesh: We didn’t back down
UNC-A chief whip Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj confirmed yesterday that he had talks with the Government midway during Friday’s no-confidence motion debate, since, he said, PNM speakers were not replying to the motion and were wasting time…

12 thoughts on “The Motion of No Confidence in the Prime Minister”

  1. The motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister is simply a continuation of the bashing which Prime Minister Manning has been receiving from the UNC.

    Note how every disaster, problem unfortunate situation is always linked to Mr. Manning, and the impression is given that he is personally responsible. When the blame cannot stick the other approach is to belittle and insult Mr. Manning. Remember the Keith and Daphne series i a previois election campaign?

    In addition to getting an opportunity to expose the ‘sins’ of the government, this motion of no confidence is also a farce. I was looking at it on television, and during Mr. Lawrence Maharaj’s presentation, Mr. Imbert, who made an inappropriate retort was pulled up by the Speaker. If this was a serious debate Mr. Maharaj’s demeanour of childishly grinning while accepecting the apology certainly gave lie to that.

  2. I expected to read on the papers today what the motion of no-confidence entailed since much preceeded the event in the house. The outcome is a confirmation that parliamentarians in our beloved T&T cannot be considered ‘serious’ about their oaths of office. A Vote of NO Confidence is a very serious matter in any democracy but yesterday’s performance of unsubstantiated charges, non-evidenced accusations and criticisms are hardly the stuff a vote of no confidence is made of. There is no doubt that the country’s affairs are in a mess. There is no doubt that almost nothing works transparently. There is no doubt that our institutions have all failed us and there is no doubt that there is harldly any institutions of government which exudes confidence BUT the opposition’s approach to the vote of no confidence is nothing short of childish political mockry of an extremely serious accusation against a sitting prime minister. Where were the facts to back the the accusations? Where were the evidential reports to tie the pm to serious charges of non-performance? I expected to read about those things in the papers but what was reported was political grandstanding such as the UNC wanted its supporters to engage PNM supporters in Woodford Square; talk of supporters safety; showmanship of who can mobilise their forces in support of their arguments. People’s time should never be wasted on foolishness that is being occasioned in the house of representatives.

  3. Non confidence motions are common in democratic parliaments everywhere.Oppositions use these motions to draw attention to perceived government failings. These motions fail and everyone knows that they will fail in majority parliaments.
    What is disappointing here is not the expected antics of Mr. Maharaj, but the inappropriate reactions of the PM and the PNM. The debate should have stayed in Parliament and should have not been taken to the streets.Mr. Manning should not have allowed his ego to dominate his rational thinking, by entering the Square and lowering himself by indulging the crowd with a most embarassing and totally inappropriate personal rant against his detractors.
    The PNM should not have solicited the support of its faithful to assist them with their work in parliament. The Party acted quite irresponsibly by organizing this sort of response to the non confidence motion and feeding the growing megalomaniac tendencies of the PM.The result of this type of sanctioned overaction could have been devastating if Mr. Panday did not act responsibly and called off his troops, who were planning to converge on the Square also in support of the Opposition.
    This is a typical “thirdworld” reaction to a regular practice in parliamentary democracies. Questions remain:
    Who applied for the permit to use Woodford Square?
    Did the Mayor of POS approve the application?
    Why were contracted government employees paid to demonstrate ?
    Was the Police complicit in this arrangement?
    Were the laws governing the use of Woodford Square applied in this situation?

  4. Nice analogy Neil, I’m in total agareement with you on that. However, I would’ve gone a bit further and point out the deception in the whole “assembly’ of the pnm supporters. They came prepared with T-shirts, placards and Equipment ready for a sermon; it was well planned by Manning. He know’s that the it would ultimately fail, but took every precaution “just in case.” This is exactly the kind of strong arm politics the PNM is used to displaying. Panday made the perfect move in asking his supporters to stay; it was indeed government business to debate indoors without the rowdy crowds. In my opinion what manning has done is gearing up the crowd of supporters for confrontation just in case by some miracle some of his ministers turned on him. The kind of money manning is spending on himself under the guise of government, to make himself and his wife happy will bring about illegal acts by people on his behalf to remain in power. Does anyone think that he will just give up the Mansion (175)million bucks, to another PM, especially Panday, without a fight?

    He didn’t have any permission or permit for the square that’s why the supporters were coached to say “we came her on our own accord, nobody sent them.” If indeed he had a permit, then he would have to plead guilty to inciting a crowd on the issue. Manning really thinks of Trinidadians as uneducated, duncee, chupid, dotish and a bunch of jackasses they way he thinks and treats us.

  5. The view that taking issues to the “streets” represent some form of second rate version of Wesminster “proper” goverment is one that should be relegated to the dustbins of history.

    The march to take back the US occupied base in chagaramus, The union marches that gave workers rights, the marches that ensured equality in workplaces and schools and the Woodford street “independence” rallies all are examples of issues debated in parliment but made law only by the peoples action in the “streets” if it were not for these actions, some of us would not be educated enough to have this discussion today!

    The British Westminster Parliamentary model and its watered down version in T&T has never been democratic. It has brought to T&T slavey and indentureship, caused the chinese and others to immigrate as a result of the brutal nature of such a system. It continues to be so today in place like Iraq; where it supports the US, the Faklands and the Diego Garcia islands where both were stolen against the wishes of the people and turned into British territories.

    As a journalist, one has to have the highest regard for integrity, to ensure that “stories” presented to populations have reputable sources etc. that as it may, one has to view Mr Neaves article and those who echo it with high suspicion.

    Mr Neaves wrote: “A female URP worker from the Toco/Manzanilla district said they were told if they did not attend the gathering yesterday they would get no more work”.

    “That is crap,” she added, he then went on to write:

    One CEPEP worker from Sangre Grande said she and her fellow workers were told to come and support, and though some disagreed they still attended.
    “We shouldn’t be here … we should be on work,” she said.

    But before that wrote: “Linda Hosainie, a 52 year-old worker from the URP women’s programme in Tunapuna, said they were invited and not forced.

    “I had no problem coming out,” she added.

    The contradiction is quite clear. Not only is it clear but here we have the same sort of irresponsible journalism that caused the firing of New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who helped to usher in the deceptive “Saddam has weapons of mass destruction” lie, she did so by creating “stories” which read like ” A pentagon source said” etc etc.

    Where are the name of the workers who were forced?

    My issue is not with a vote of no confidence in The PNM
    or its opposition or any other party that aspires to sit in the Red House to steal.
    It is with the very system that has created and fostered parties as these that divide the nation with petty arguments, whiles making “deals” behing the peoples back without consultation.

    Deals like the legalization of casinos in T&T, done under a previous government, A severe blow to the moral character of any nation, because grand scale prostitution and crime closely follows, and has!

    Deals like the repealing of laws such as who could own land in T&T, thus ushering in the current “German Occupation” of Tobago’s prime land once owned by locals. Who when they became aware of the sceme stopped selling only to be hoodwinked by their fellow Trini’s who started acting as go-betweens, buying at the behest of the Germans and local stooge developers. This done by yet “another” previous government.

    And deals such as the one that has just concluded. Where The current government has entered in an MOU “Agreement” with a Dutch company LyondellBasell, that will “invest” USD 2.3 Billion for the building of the “national” Methanol plant. The largest single investment in the nations history, done in conjunction with the German company Lurgi AG, who will oversee the building and installing of the plants technological machinery. “The government has not disclosed the financial details of the deal”.

    The lack of transparency with regard these financial “investments” shows the lack of respect that parliamentary governments has for their people, who are the owners and protectors of the nations wealth. They can carry out all forms of shady “dealmaking” and treachery behind those walls

    Today progressive Latin American countries are shaking off the yolk of the one sided “deal” where previous governments allowed “investments” that did not benefit their nations, but instead exploited them.

    Little is known about exactly how T&T benefits from such deals as the one mentioned. Should we not know? Is it not our right to know?
    Who stands to benefit most? those ministers who line their pocket’s and the foreign governments/companies, or the nations people?

    Prime Minister Manning’s buddy, who was not to long ago here in T&T for the Emancipation celebrations, President John Kufuor, just signed a “deal” in “parliment” behind the people’s back in Ghana where he literally sold that nations telcom industry to the British. when he finally announced it, to the dismay of the people, they found out Ghana owned 30% whiles the British company had 70%!

    This is the way the westminster parliamentary system was set up to operate, and this is what we have to understand in T&T. That irrespective of the government or opposition, we will continue to have petty politics, racial divisions, shady deals and foreign exploitation on “our soil”.

    So a vote of no confidence in the government will not be relevant. The other party will be the same kakhi pants as long as they yearn to wear the wigs and wips, and mentally trappings of the British model.

    Instead, establish a vote of no confidence in the Parliamentary System! which seek to keep us as the “Oil rich” “This is how you all should be” “US stooge” economic “model” for the rest of the caribbean, Vote no to the one sided “alliances” with nations like Britain and the USA who’s economies are on their way out, falling down, bankrupted, heading for depression etc etc.
    The fact that our economies are closely aligned with theirs will ensure failure!

    And with the eventual writing of the Americanized version of the “new constitution” the illusion of change will be firmly in place.
    The disparities in the land between the haves and have nots will continue to get worse well into the future unless the entire system changes that is for sure!

    And instead of a Puppet Prime Minister you will now have Puppet Presidents running the show for others. showing the same disdain for the Nation.

    Oh we should all thank the PNM for UTT. I hope this will facilitate the technical management the nation needs to run this and other plants instead of having Germans and Dutch or British and Americans who never seem to leave after having nice mansions with pools to live in federation park as part of their perks, great example for the youth who will graduate and struggle to find jobs in the field for numerous reasons of which some of us are aware!

  6. Mr. Neil La Bellot wrote:

    “The march to take back the US occupied base in chagaramus, The union marches that gave workers rights, the marches that ensured equality in workplaces and schools and the Woodford street “independence” rallies all are examples of issues debated in parliment but made law only by the peoples action in the “streets” if it were not for these actions, some of us would not be educated enough to have this discussion today!”

    These examples of demonstrations are all “real” causes, worthy of sacrifice. The demonstration on Friday in Woodford Square was organized simply to feed the ego of a Prime Minister who is beginning to take on imperial characteristics,reminiscent of many autocratic and despotic African leaders.

  7. Thus the problem is with the “Autocratic” Parliamentary system that allows for such. But there is no law against leaders taking issues to a park.

  8. Well,apparently there is a law against “leaders taking issues to a park”

    It is of particular interest to me, however, to enquire of the Commissioner (Acting) why is it that he did not call upon the crowd to disperse in compliance with section III of the Summary Offences Act for failure to notify the Commissioner of the meeting?

    The Commissioner of Police must be given at least 48 hours notice for the holding of a public meeting. It would be less than disingenuous for any in the PNM leadership to contend that what transpired in Woodford Square was not at least a public meeting—and a political one at that. It was not a musical performance or cultural show—despite the appearance of some booths selling handicraft.

    Contrary to the belief of some, it is not the business of the City Corporation alone as to who uses Woodford Square. The corporation can grant permission for its use in much the way a landlord can, but when it comes to holding a public meeting the law requires that the Commissioner of Police be notified and his directions followed. Failure to do so renders the person responsible for convening the meeting liable to a fine of $10,000 or imprisonment for two years.

  9. We do not know, nor does Mr Setahal if the “planed” gathering at the square was done without “permission”.But again there is no law “against” leaders taking issues to a park.
    The British system, like its American counterpart simply require a 48 hr notification for such gatherings. As far as the square the same is required for the selling of Books, programs of a cultural nature etc.

    Here is another quote from the mirror, The authors name was not given:

    It is bad enough that this event happened through what appears to be a bending, if not an outright flouting, of regulations in several State bodies, as well as the law which requires two days’ notification before any sort of public gathering is held. Section 109 of the Summary Offences Act is crystal-clear on this matter. The Act states that any person who holds any public meeting without notifying the Commissioner of Police and who “in furnishing the information for any of the purposes of subsection (2) makes any statement which he knows to be misleading, false, or deceptive, or by any dishonest concealment of material facts, or by reckless making of any statement (dishonestly or otherwise) misleads or attempts to mislead any other person…is liable to a fine of ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment for two years.” Once the rally was taking place the police could probably have done nothing to stop it without causing more disruption. But Acting Commissioner Philbert now has an opportunity to demonstrate if he can walk the talk he has been giving since taking office, by taking action against some persons.

    So is it Section 3? or section 109? this is the type of journalism that fans the fire of confusion with distorted facts! the act is something we may both have to look up to verify it’s accuracy with regards to the quotes.
    And what would all of this prove taking into account that Panday was supposed to have his “troops” there as well without “supposed” permission! what a way to lable “poor people”, who were to be used as “cannon fodder” Troops!

    That as it is, I do not believe in this British “permission” concept that insist that one should have permission, The cronies in the Red House has never had our “permission” to do anything that they choose to do in our names! Like: exploiting us, dividing us, keeping sections of the nation in poverty, catering to big business first before the needs of the citizenry.

    The square should be used to educate and inform the public, once a week about Plans, Deal/Investments, Social Programs etc. disclosing “all” details to the public scrutiny. This should be done by the Prime Minister himself, and relevant Ministers when needed. Everyone would be invited, questions will be taken, Instead of the closed doors politics of parliament
    When this happens, we will begin to see a more democratic society emerging!

  10. You are obviously confusing legitimate protests with the political farce intentionally perpetuated on the enslaved supporters of the PM and the PNM at Woodford Square.
    Also, in progressive societies there is no need for governments and prime ministers to make weekly reports in public parks. A literate electorate informs itself by utilizing a variety of media and also has the ability to selectively screen information.

  11. 1) Trinidad is not a progressive society

    2)I am not questioning anyone’s “motive’s” with regards to the usage of the park, (Protest, Parties, Using it for the thumping of one’s chest etc) only the “legality”. so for the last time!(There is no law “against” taking issues to a park) Against!! being the operative word!

    3) If any one truely believed there was a “literate” electorate in T&T we would not be blogging on these issues would we?

    I also noticed that you did not address the LEGAL ISSUE that you your self raised!

    Is it section 3? or section 109? (Note i do not support the credibility of any of these until one of them has ben proven right.)

    4) All of the mentioned above is exactly why it is so important to have an truely “educated” (not informed) electorate. One which knows it’s constitution and Laws of the land like the ABC, one which does not rely on the “selectively screening” media, to provide it with distorted “information”/lies.

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