Speaker George Mishandled and Scuttled the FACTA Debate

By Stephen Kangal
December 10, 2016

Stephen KangalHaving regard to the sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of T&T and the consequent urgency of concluding the FACTA debate by gaining the requisite 26 votes in the House on Friday last with the indispensable and exclusive assistance of The Leader of the Opposition I submit that The Honourable Speaker of the House, Madame Ingrid Annisette- George mishandled the earlier proceedings that had the effect of scuttling the substantive FACTA Bill 2016 debate.

FACTA was the main item on the Order Paper. The role of the Opposition was very critical at that sitting in both the amendments stage as well as in the final vote having regard to the fact that the current FACTA Bill 2016 is an exact replica of the 2015 PP Draft as were the current Gambling and failed Bail Bills.

Without the Opposition being present, the sitting was a glorified waste of Parliamentary time as it turned out to be. Without the presence of the Leader of the Opposition at the sitting, being their chief spokesperson on the Bill, the Opposition could and would not participate in the scheduled negotiations of the Committee of the Whole at that sitting.

Walking out with their Leader was the logical response.

So that when the Leader of the Opposition failed in her request to The Speaker to get her motion on the murder rate debated as a matter of definite, urgent and public importance there was indeed some mild disorder. But it was not sufficiently disruptive, in my view, to cause The Speaker to summarily and impulsively suspend from the sitting both The Leader of the Opposition and Member for Naparima.

Madame Speaker must learn to think quickly while she is her legs and feet. She has previously, regularly and quite arbitrarily suspended other members of the Opposition as if they were her infant students for minor misdemeanours and quite acceptable levels of banter/cross talk in the House. The House is not a church.

Anger cannot be used as a management/control tool from the Speaker’s Chair. Maturity, discretion, fairness, judgement and good sense are the tools of effective House Speakers.

On this occasion taking into account the urgency of the FACTA debate that began on 9 September 2016 and ended on 23 September 2016 and the February 2017 deadline given by the US Treasury Department to T&T for passage of FACTA in Parliament as well as the key role of the Leader of the Opposition that Madame Speaker will be privy to prior to the sitting, she should have adjourned the House for a 15- minute cooling off period rather than adopt the draconian suspension of the key player in the subsequent debate. Suspension is an avoidable affront to constituents.

What am I to make of the immediate withdrawal of The Speaker from the House post the ill-timed suspension and the chairing of the FACTA monologue by the Deputy Speaker, the Honourable Esmond Forde?

14 Responses to “Speaker George Mishandled and Scuttled the FACTA Debate”


  • I was surprise that she so quickly suspended the member for Siparia. Wade Mark had a different style he sought to reason before suspending. There was always cross talk and during Wade time he appeal to reason, and he did that on many occasions. I like his style. He would say something like this “would the member for Siparia please, please calm down”. And then engage in a bit of reasoning.

    Madame Ingrid Annisette- George brings a more dictatorial, authoritarian style to the chair. She acts like a school teacher exercising total control. It is necessary at times to have such control but not all the time. After all this is a debate and having engaged in debates myself I can tell you it can become passionate. The Opposition reads her well and know she will send them out of the chamber instead of using some moral persuasion.

    My personal view is that she is a poor selection for the chair having been a PNM cabinet minister under the Manning administration for over 2 years. Their is an inbuilt bias against the Opposition. The chair is suppose to be neutral in all its deliberations and not anxious to pronounce at any sign of disobedience or cross talk.

    The Honorable Opposition Leader came in with a proposal that ran contrary to the current debate. There was no reason to send her out of the chamber if she is a bit upset. Rather the chair need to learn how to agree on all matter and yet disagree at times. How do you that? Simple. She should have said, Member for Siparia I understand your concern and agree with you that crime needs to be discussed. But we will try and facilitate you according to standing order such and such. Try reasoning first Madame Speaker. Kicking someone out should be last resort.

  • Funny how these Loud Mouths, NOW, Know about reasoning. The Last Government was behaving like Asses. Insulting most. trowing members out, sir spending, the Members. NOW You know it all’s are the EXPERTS???????

  • Someone said they saw Rowley texting on his phone pointing at it and the speaker taking up her phone and reading the text. I don’t know if that is true but if it is it would explain the speaker behaviour and the strong need for the Mason Hall kid to keep close tabs on prominent PNM women. One even remarking on how hard his manhood was….(she was blunt). Is there a strong undercurrent controlling the speaker behaviour? What does he have on her?

    Rowley once made a trip in the dead of night to Ken Gordon home and discussed matters regarding his fake emails, seeking Ken imput so that he could bring down the KPB regime. At the time Ken was head of the integrity commission and was very fast to open up an investigation into the matter. Ken using his media connection and expertise had a particular newspaper for several weeks and months keep this matter on their front page. It was the talk of the town. Rowley desire to control or bring down women is mind boggling.

    Then there was the Anika Gumps incident where a half naked Rowley propositioned her, remarking as to the nature of the butterfly tattoo on her back, and he ever so gently caressing it.

    This shows a pattern of behaviour and the current PM control over all and sundry. The speaker must functioned under some level of neutrality but that may not be so under this current P.M.

  • Interpretation of this article and it’s sycophants support of it:
    “If you want our support, you must first listen to our out-of-time, subjective version of crime, which we hope will skyrocket to untold numbers. We know it is not the issue being debated in this chamber today, but you must listen to our bs first. We really don’t give-a-dam about it but hope it is the issue that will bring that PNM n.g.er government down”.

    Some times we must cut through the bs and call things for what they really are. Kangal, Kamla, Mamoo and company really don’t care pdf the government is successful or not in passing this bill.

    Indian policy is very much in play here!

    • Kian the PNM does not need anyone help to bring them down. Since they took office they have been doing an excellent job of bringing themselves down. The last LGE saw Kamla surge to win the popular vote. In just 14 months the electorate is saying “we fed up with this government”. That is the shortest honey moon in the history of politics.

      Here are some examples that you balisier juice drinkers need to ponder.
      (1) Homicides already surpassed last year figures.
      (2) the police force is a mess with uniform police men actively engaged in crime.
      (3)Robberies are on the rise because nothing is being done to steer the youth men away from crime.
      (4)the PNM taxing everything and people are slowly seeing the good life disappear. The finance minister even said they eh riot yet so another 15% more in taxes.
      (5) 14 months in office 1st budget $63 billion, second budget $50 billion plus $10 billion raise in selling bonds. With nothing to show, they slowly opening projects started by the PP and taking credit for it.
      (6)This year everyone owning a home will have to pay 3% of the home value at market price. Tell me Kian if you are a pensioner,living on fix income, how are you going to afford to pay this extra tax?

      I could go on. Kian the purpose of government is to bring the “good life” to the citizenry. If you keep taking from the people crime will increase. As KPB said the government is either working for you or against you. This government Kian is NOT working for you my friend think about it.

      • Mamoo, you have just confirmed my assertions. I do not take umbrage when you associate me with drinking the juices of the PNM an being a PNM sympathizer. To the contrary, I welcome that label. But as you are aware, I have no tolerance for fake news and I’, very logical in my thinking. Let me reiterate my assertion that you and the UNC -L-O-V-E the idea that crime statistics are negative. It gives you something to quarrel with the OPNM about. But I see nor hear any policy championed by the UNC that would eradicate these negative numbers. The truth about crime is that the politics of Trinidad and Tobago has always had the wrong approach to crime. Be it UNC our the PNM.

        In order for crime to be eradicated, there must be a pronged approach that deals with fighting crime, a healthy judicial redress, incarceration upgrades, remand and timely redress, youth policies, social and psychological interventions, and post incarceration policies. There is nothing in the politics of Trinidad and Tobago, whether UNC or PNM that has wholesome approaches to the issue. Take for example, the simple matter of selecting a Commissioner of Police, your UNC stalwarts thinks that it is to their advantage not to have a permanent Commissioner. That is backwards thinking. No country should EVER function without a PERMANENT CoP. Policing should NEVER be matter of politics. The best qualified candidate should be given the job without the handicaps that are now used by the UNC to prevent it from happening.

        As for statistics, it is a matter that the UNC uses to satisfy its own motives. It is always important when you want to criticize the PNM but when the UNC had an opportunity to put things right and produce actual figures, what did they do? They got rid of the agency.
        People like you and Kangal preach Indian superiority and it materializes in the chosen words that you guys emblazons to elevate your thinking as superior and that of your opposites as inferior. Words have meanings and consequences. Most of us who participate in these discussions understand them and are quite clear of their interpretations. If you want a discussion and is wiling to start from a level playing field, I am game to that proposal. For now, I am not impressed with your statistics and your persuasively inclined UNC distractions.

        Read Capil Bissoon, Ralph Maraj and Stephen Kangal and what you will end up with is ONE HEAD pushing the same idea. Nuff said.

      • Oh! and another thing Mamoo. You stated “The last LGE saw Kamla surge to win the popular vote.” – meaning Last General Election. In my understanding of our democracy,
        the last General Election took place in September, 2015 and that did not reflect well on Kamla. What took place last month was not a national consensus of the nation’s electorate. It was simply a matter of selecting who you want to represent your community in city hall. In some cases the PNM electorate turned out in small numbers and still won but it was never meant to be a referendum on national leadership. I agree fake news would want you to believe that it was national in scope. If, for example the people in Belmont turned out in small numbers to elect their aldermen or burgesses, then by all means it is in fact a local concern. I don’t think that Kamla was a consideration there nor Rowley for that matter. You have an inherently flawed view of what the people was saying in casting their votes to elect people to represent them locally.

        • LGE for your intellectually retarded mind Kian means Local Government Elections. Please you have just insulted the entire PNM establishment with your childish comments.
          But I digress you are a work in progress and over time your will conceptualize the ideals of what make a great society, not foolish ranting and raving but hard work.
          Such hard work is not embedded in the psyche of the balisier crowd. They all expecting Rowley to deliver roti ops bake and saltfish. But this philosophy of mediocrity is slowly poisoning the national scheme of things. No longer could they blame KPB for their failures. Yes Kian everything is in a state of social decay. As I have presented the facts you so that you can judge for yourself. Take the blinders off.

          • Thanks for your reply Mamoo, but with each rendition of your provocateurial skills, you try to pretend that your are smarter than thou – a continuum of my charges. The way in which condition, content and context are worded, carry assumptions of meaning.
            In this case, you use the term ‘LGE’ (you might define as local government election), but you clearly conveyed in context to mean the general election. That is the charge that I am making. You want us to believe that you are smart by compounding intent with context and claiming victory in knowledge. That is FAKE NEWS Mamoo! You CLEARLY WANT US TO BELIEVE THAT IT WAS A GENERAL ELECTION IN WHICH KAMLA BEAT KEITH! instead of community people choosing community leaders. That is what (local government elections) is all about.

            “Such hard work is not embedded in the psyche of the balisier crowd. ” If by the use of this term you contend that the UNC worked hard, spent untold billions, produced insidious box drains, built schools and hospitals; then you stay in your FAKE condition of “a great society”.

            If by your statement “not foolish ranting and raving but hard work.” you mean the PNM government exposing the billions wasted by the last UNC government, with no accountabilty for the expenditures, and the
            exhaustion of credit worthiness they incurred, then that too is FAKE.

            “But this philosophy of mediocrity is slowly poisoning the national scheme of things. No longer could they blame KPB for their failures. ” Again Mamoo, the application of your term was ill placed.
            You obviously meant the PNM but where was ‘mediocrity’ more evident than in Kamla’s government? Life Sport, WASA, EFL, NGC, Petrotrin
            just to name a few. If that is not mediocrity then most of us don’t know what mediocrity is.

            “Such hard work is not embedded in the psyche of the balisier crowd. ” Is that the coded odium preached in the mandirs about black people? The coding is repititous and familiar with the hindus view of black people.

            “Yes Kian everything is in a state of social decay. ” Again Mamoo, it is too said that it is only now that you have noticed this state of affairs. It was the modus operandi which fueled our discontent since 2010. But I understand. In hindi it is only when it shows under PNM rule is it recognized.

            “As I have presented the facts you so that you can judge for yourself. Take the blinders off.” No need to remind me of “facts” Mamoo. We see it everyday in the shenanigans of the UNC. The country hating crowd that are in the corridors of judiciary, thePolice, the parliament, medicine, UWI and elsewhere. We know and understand what you present as “facts”. It is because my blinders were off why I was able to decode your provocative language Mamoo. Continue with your garbage!!!!!

      • http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20161205/portia-plans-exit-simpson-miller-stepping-down-president-pnp

        “Kian the PNM does not need anyone help to bring them down. Since they took office they have been doing an excellent job of bringing themselves down. The last LGE saw Kamla surge to win the popular vote. In just 14 months the electorate is saying “we fed up with this government”. That is the shortest honey moon in the history of politics.” Mamboo

        Well Kian , what can we expect from dis Mamboo creature, when the guy , was only allowed to go to de Mayaro Primary school , during the August Holidays, when the doors, and gate, were firmly locked.
        If a hell do exist, we know where his ‘good for nada Papa ,’ will end up for sure, sis?

        Just kidding- maybe !
        Sorry George Chambers, you lost your title,as the dumbest PM , T&T ever had.
        Auntie K ,just won same ,’with flying colors’- as we like to say on de streets.
        Papa Hugh Wooding ,must be turning over in his grave . There it is folks -YARDEE female ,ExPM – Mamma Portia , just like Chambers , barely finished High school, and is in possession of some opaque, Correspondence School Certificate, yet knows how to do the right thing, in recognition, that she’s no long wanted, by the electorate.
        As for de Siparia Queen Kamla ,with her big time law degree, YET fixated on holding Regional/ Commonwealth Political records- as the 1st PM , with 7 political losses under their belt,and what a sick tragedy!
        ‘Where you at,’ Mikila Panday?
        Please save your country ,from this monstrosity! The Party your Papa- with de help of George Weeks- created, is now in the doldrums.
        Democracy dictates, that we have a vibrant Opposition, / Government in waiting,but sadly we are stuck with these Kamla led political bozos.
        In Buddhism , we subscribe to a philosophical view of – “LETTING GO ,’ as a 1st step to ending suffering.
        What’s the teaching in your religion Mamboo?
        Just checking.

  • Yep, and if we survived that political crook ,Wade-MBA – Mark, we’ll survive Speaker George. Another thing,Uncle Kandal,she won’t make out like a bandit, by picking up a glorified Senatorial post, 2 seconds ,after her party leaves office , in say …. 2025.
    Good griefs people, and while we are at it , can we make a law , to make ‘selective outrages ,’a criminal offense?
    Sorry Uncle K, but if that law is passed, it means jail time for you.
    Talk about a none issue. Do a survey across T&T ,and 99.9 % of the population,ain’t even have a clue as to what FACTA is. They know however, that at the hight of our 300 dollars per barrel reality ,a hospital was constructed under de UNC dominant PP regime, with loans from China. Same was opened with big , ribbon cutting fanfare/ and Prime ministerial photo ops, and to date , no equipment, no staff- doctors/ nurses?
    We demand a debate to know , who should be jailed, and how to move forward, now that oil is stuck at 35 dollars per barrel, and Guyana , Kenya, Uganda,are now oil producers- even as OPEC do the blackmailing – jig/and dance,si?
    What say ye Uncle K? What’s dat, ain’t your concern? As I suspected.
    Tell you what people, ‘de person ,who can make me hate this land of mine,ain’t born yet,’and you see why?
    Stay vigilant folks!

  • These comments by the former Central bank governor are right on target. He can no longer be scapegoated by this administration as his policies were preferable to the disaster which we are experiencing today.

    Former Central Bank governor Jwala Rambarran on Saturday defended actions under his tenure, in particular widening the allocation base for foreign exchange.
    At the same time, he took swipes at Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Finance Minister Colm Imbert.
    In response to questions by the Opposition last Wednesday, Rowley had blamed Rambarran’s “tinkering” with the Central Bank’s foreign exchange distribution system for the creation of a US dollar black market and for the country living in the shadow of foreign exchange shortages.
    “The ‘tinkering’ the Prime Minister referred to were changes I made to the Central Bank’s inefficient system of distributing/allocating foreign exchange to commercial banks that was in place prior to April 2014,” Rambarran said.
    “We have reverted to this flawed distribution system, after I was commanded by the construction worker-turned-Minister of Finance to reintroduce it in October 2015. The toxic combination of using this ineffective system together with our growing demand exceeding our dwindling supply means foreign exchange disruption is a new normal for the country,” he said.
    Rambarran said the Central Bank’s system for distributing foreign exchange to the commercial banks encourages inequality.

    Big business

    “The sobering reality is that 80 per cent of the foreign exchange which the Central Bank sells to commercial banks ends up in the accounts of a supra-elite, ‘big business’ group which represents just 20 per cent of total demand. The composition of this favoured few has not changed in the past decade. Nor is it likely to change unless we have a Central Bank governor who is courageous enough to alter the status quo,” he said.
    “The existing foreign exchange distribution system encourages inequality because it inherently gives undue preference to banks based on size. This supports the monopoly position of the country’s largest bank, which receives the largest share of the Central Bank’s allocation of foreign exchange. The Prime Minister needs to be reminded that it was under the direct watch of one of his current economic advisers who, either deliberately or out of sheer incompetence, allowed control of our foreign exchange market, a strategic national asset, to be placed in the hands and at the mercy of one bank,” he said.
    Rambarran said the changes he made in April 2014 sought to make US dollars more widely accessible, both across banks and across their customers and basically altered the status quo.
    23-year-old system

    “The Central Bank’s foreign exchange distribution system is now 23 years old. How can our economy properly function under a nearly quarter-century-old system that was started when the price of oil was less than half of what it is now and the foreign exchange needs of our country have mushroomed? More so, what does it say about a Prime Minister who clearly does not recognise this tectonic shift in our economy or, more disturbingly, prefers not to acknowledge this and use it as an opportunity to play a petty blame game? Who is the winner when petty blame games are played with our country’s economic future?
    “We’ve returned to the old foreign exchange distribution system, the exchange rate has depreciated by 6.5 per cent, and the Central Bank has sold close to a whopping US$2.5 billion in the last 15 months. Yet, the shortage of US dollars persists. Many small and medium businessmen still vociferously complain about who gets foreign exchange, how much they get and when they get it. If I created the US dollar black market, as the Prime Minister claims, then the new governor has fed the black market snake and made it even more venomous with his fundamentally flawed exchange rate policy of running down the country’s reserves while simultaneously sharply depreciating our exchange rate.
    “As long as our small open economy is reliant on oil (and now gas) and we conveniently forget these prices are volatile and our foreign exchange consumption levels continue to increase to buy the things we want and need, we will always face a foreign exchange dilemma. Small open economies, like Trinidad and Tobago, require exchange rate stability, not exchange rate uncertainty. The Central Bank, not the private sector, must therefore have management and control of our national foreign exchange market,” he said.
    “Our Prime Minister, our country’s CEO, would do well to remember, geology is not economics, and should he and his team continue to play the blame game, we will all pay a price we cannot afford and citizens will eventually decide whether he and his team have outlived their usefulness,” he concluded.

  • Kian wrote ”
    If by your statement “not foolish ranting and raving but hard work.” you mean the PNM government exposing the billions wasted by the last UNC government, with no accountabilty for the expenditures, and the
    exhaustion of credit worthine…”

    Where are the billions waste? Idiot. WGTL alone $3.5 billion US gone but here are some more of PNM good spending.

    In 2010 Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar met an economy in decline, she turned it around settling over 130 wage negotiations and giving workers an increase between 20%-23% in 5 years and she did that without increasing taxes. And the population voted her out.

    In 3 months, PNM, increased fuel by 15%, increased VAT on zero rated goods by 12.5%, increased NIS to 13.5%, increased business levy by 200%, reintroduce Property Tax, send home hundreds of workers, freeze salary and bonuses and not a man say a word.

    Yuh mean the millions wasted and stolen by the ugly PNM. The last dead PNM leader swindled millions. This one had $60 billion budget and nuttin to show. Another budget and still nothing to show. But this is how the dead tief handle the economy. • Chancery Lane complex—$300 million over budget—24-month delay.Government campus and Legal Affairs tower—$300 million over budget—18-month delay.. Waterfront project—$1.3 billion over budget—six-month delay.• Education Ministry tower—$300 million over budget—20-month delay. Performing Arts Centre—$234 million over budget—one-year delay.South PRC—$238 million over budget—13 months overdue.Beverly Hills Housing—$106 million cost overrun—65-month delay.Lara Stadium—$800 million cost overrun—41-months delay. remains unused.
    And the nappy heads accusing Kamla of tiefin.

    • Mamoo, you don’t get it!!!!
      You and everything you write about skirts around the truth. In other words, can I say it any louder YOU AND WHAT YOU WRITE IS FAKE!!!. We understand what the word propaganda means. You are symptomatic of those intent on spreading false information any time an opportunity arises. How many times are you going to write the same things? Facts are not kind to your garbage. I understand that FAKE NEWS is the in-thing, but you don’t have to remind us of its relativity everyday. You are spreading propaganda about the most incompetent leader this country has ever seen. We know it and you know it. Needless talking facts with you because it connotes a different meaning in your mind. Fact for you means what you believe or think. A far away cry from accountable deeds. I notice that you have called me an idiot. That word, coming from a feeble minded idiot, is proof of intent to reverse one’s inability to withstand scrutiny. I have told you not just once, not just twice, anytime you are willing to match wit and accountable conversations I am game. But idiotic conversations is not what I am about. I am afraid that you are incapable of speaking to truth. Take your facts to the mandir.

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