From high drama to farce

Express Editorial
October 21, 2021 – trinidadexpress.com

Kamla Persad-BissessarPredictably, the Opposition Leader’s motion to remove the President crashed and burned on the Parliament’s floor with a wide 47-24 margin of defeat.

From the start, this was a misguided motion that smacked of over-reach and succeeded only in bringing a healthy public ­debate on the role of the President to a premature end.

The guidelines issued by the Speaker on Tuesday were consistent with the constitutional procedure, although this newspaper still holds the view that the Speaker had some latitude under the Electoral College regulations for exercising creative discretion. However, on the face of it, her decision to play by the book is defensible. On the other hand, it is unlikely that the Opposition Leader was unaware of the limitations of the constitutional motion for moving against the President. We can only assume that the declamations about dictatorship were all part of the theatre of Opposition politics.
Full Article : trinidadexpress.com

22 thoughts on “From high drama to farce”

  1. DISORDER
    Electoral College sitting descends into bacchanal

    Blows for politicians from citizens in the street
    “I would call them political bullies… terrorists.” So said Charlotte Street Vendors’ representative Melba Boxhill, as she analysed the historic motion to impeach President Paula-Mae Weekes in Parliament yesterday, which was defeated by 47 to 24 votes.

    Daly: UNC was trapped by Speaker’s guidelines
    Senior Counsel Martin Daly said it was a “very bad day” for the Opposition United National Congress (UNC). This was his initial reaction to what happened in the Parliament yesterday.
    “They were flat-footed, frustrated and just fulminated because they were trapped by the guidelines that the Speaker issued,” Daly said.

    As motion against President fails, Kamla declares: PM next
    Less than a week after she announced that a motion would be filed seeking to remove the President from office, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced that plans to file a motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister were underway.

  2. What you saw in Parliament yesterday, October 21, 2021, was a total attack on black women in Trinidad and Tobago by the UNC under Kamla Persad-Bissessar. For hours on end, the UNC under Kamla Persad-Bissessar totally disrespected Bridgid Annisette-George, the Speaker of the House, and the President of Trinidad and Tobago, Paula-Mae Weekes. You could see the hatred pouring out, the disrespect, the attempt to denigrate and belittle. The target of their hatred and vitriol – two black women who, by dint of hard work and overcoming countless obstacles, achieved leadership positions in our country. The UNC under Kamla Persad-Bissesar kept telling them for hours on end, it doesn’t matter what position of leadership you have achieved in Trinidad and Tobago, to us you are nothing, we will disrespect you publicly, we will show the Trinidad and Tobago public that you are nothing, you should be a cook, a menial, a cleaner, that’s what you should be not the Speaker of the House, or the President. That’s what we witnessed in Parliament yesterday. It was shameful and disgraceful. The UNC under Kamla Persad-Bissessar now feel they have a licence to do anything they want to bring down this country. They have become a cancer in the body politic and only you, the people, can get rid of this cancer.

    1. “What you saw in Parliament yesterday, October 21, 2021, was a total attack on black women in Trinidad and Tobago by the UNC under Kamla Persad-Bissessar“ Birdie.

      As a black Bajan woman once told me “when all else fail use race”. Today it has been proven true by this PNM fuh fah rah apologist. Only Kian will drink this dirty balisier water. According to this blogger logic black people could do no wrong. They are the chosen seed…haha

  3. The Socialist Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is what these numbskulls have created. Violating the rule of law, stifling debate. The PNM knew the motion would fail. They knew that as Rowley said he could go to President house anytime, that the connection between him and the unmarried President remains very tight. She owes him, he had a multi million dollar house built for her, as his lapdog he will protect her from all and sundry.
    There are no lines or boundaries in the PNM famalay.

  4. Paul Mae is now officially a puppet President. She is a child of the balisier juice drinkers association. Nothing she does going forward could be trusted as being independent.

    It is time to review the office of the presidency. She was not elected by the people, rather she was selected by the PNM. Her actions have resulted in the collapse of the Police Service Commission. She has show utter disdain for the office she holds, not understanding the need to fiercely guard the independence of it.

    One can remember when Panday was making appointments by bringing people to the Parliament, Robbie though wrong stood up to him for 55 days. He plunge the nation into a crisis of his own making. Paula Mae is the exact opposite, she is like hand and glove with Rowley. Rowley even boasted he could drop by to see her anytime, only something you could do if she is your girlfriend. Like Rowley she lied about the timing of receiving the list of candidates and the issues surrounding it, for the position of CoP. And failed in her duty to bring it to Parliament. Rowley boasted he never saw a list. Haha.

    It was Dr Eric Williams who once boasted that if he put a crapaud there with a tie they would vote for it. True to his words the offices of the PM, CJ, AG and Presidency has been severely compromised threatening out democracy. None is independent of the other. They don’t seem to understand their role as leaders of the nation…

  5. “Omertà (/oʊˈmɛərtə/, Italian pronunciation: [omerˈta])[a] is a Southern Italian code of silence and code of honor and conduct that places importance on silence in the face of questioning by authorities or outsiders; non-cooperation with authorities, the government, or outsiders, especially during criminal investigations; and willfully ignoring and generally avoiding interference with the illegal activities of others (i.e., not contacting law enforcement or the authorities when one is aware of, witness to, or even the victim of certain crimes).

    It originated and remains common in Southern Italy, where banditry or brigandage and Mafia-type criminal organizations (like the Camorra, Cosa Nostra, ‘Ndrangheta, Sacra Corona Unita and Società foggiana) have long been strong. Similar codes are also deeply rooted in other areas of the Mediterranean, including rural Spain, Crete in Greece,[1] and Corsica, all of which share a common or similar historic culture with Southern Italy…”

    The PNM has adopted this code as Dr Rowley proudly announced. The code of silence cannot be broke if it is that person will be eliminated….

  6. The bedlam and bacchanal in the Parliament yesterday was an attempt at an insurrection. We can call it the October 21 Insurrection. It was an attempt to block the electoral vote count in Parliament by going against the Constitution which had laid out the process by which a President could be removed. There was a constant attempt at intimidation of those voting against the removal of the President. There was a constant harassment of the Speaker as she attempted to carry out the process laid out in the Constitution. It seemed to be a mimicking of the Jan 6 insurrection in the US. There a lawyer John Eastman had urged Vice President Pence in a memo to block the electoral-vote count in Congress. A mob of protestors, violent at times as seen in many videos of the event, stormed the Capitol in an attempt to intimidate members of Congress and ensure that VP Pence blocked the electoral-vote count. The entire event is now called the Jan 6 Insurrection and many people have been convicted for the part they played in that Insurrection. Here in our October 21 Insurrection, the people who tried to intimidate and stop the electoral vote count were members of the Kamla Persad-Bissessar led mob. Will any of them be held to account for the October 21 Insurrection? Or will they get off with impunity?

  7. This by I. Khan is what really happened.
    The Honourable Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s loss of confidence in the former commissioner of police Gary Griffith had little or nothing to do with his competence or efficiency in carrying out his official police duties.

    Rather, it was his rude, inane and pompous disrespect for the Office of the Prime Minister following a public spat over the non-arrest and prosecution by the police of pool party bathers at Bayshore Towers in early September 2020.

    In the weeks following this unfortunate and unnecessary imbroglio, Mr Griffith vehemently heaped insults upon the head of the Prime Minister as follows:

    (1) Massa day done in this country.

    (2) He (the PM) was encouraging police officers to violate the constitutional rights of citizens by breaking the laws to ease political pressure on him and his administration, and he was trying to “throw the police under the bus”. In other words, he was incompetent.

    (3) He referred to the PM as behaving as massa but as far as he, Mr Griffith, was concerned, “massa day done” in T&T.

    (4) He accused the Prime Minister of using a reporter to write stories in order to discredit him because the PM was fearful of his independence and popularity as an efficient and indefatigable Commissioner of Police.

    There were many more vulgar insults to the Prime Minister.

    The Police Service Commission (PolSC) sent a missive dated September 22, 2020, to Griffith, stating that the Prime Minister had made an official complaint against him for misbehaviour and pointed out that he is irrational, erratic, disrespectful, accusatory and unreliable.

    The Prime Minister also stated inter alia, in his letter of complaint to the PolSC, that he, as the chairman of the National Security Council, had lost confidence in Mr Griffith as ­Commissioner of Police.

    Griffith subsequently offered a public apology to the Prime Minister for his unbecoming and erratic behaviour, foolishly believing the Prime Minister had forgiven him and all was forgotten.

    Mr Griffith’s popularity as an excellent and efficient Commissioner of Police was skyrocketing. He was taking the fight to the criminal elements in the country and Dr Rowley led him to really believe that his vulgar insults to him were all “water under the bridge”. Dr Rowley apparently decided to play dead to catch corbeaux alive.

    Apparently the PolSC also believed the Prime Minister had forgiven commissioner Griffith, in that he was not pursuing disciplinary proceedings against him. And thus Griffith’s name on the Order of Merit list is said to have topped the contenders for the selection and re-appointment for the position of Commissioner of Police.

    The President recently stated almost immediately after receiving the Merit List from the PolSC it was withdrawn by the commission. It is more likely that it was withdrawn by Bliss Seepersad without consultation, consent, approval and authority from the other members of the commission because upon learning of the withdrawal of the Merit List they all ­resigned en masse.

    I had anticipated that all the machinations surrounding the re-appointment of Mr Griffith to continue as the next Commissioner of Police would ooze out at the parliamentary debate involving the motion to remove the President from office.

    And a very vexed question which must be debated and answered is: who is the high-ranking Government official who caused Bliss Seepersad to crawl back to the President and withdraw the Merit List from her hands, without the consent, knowledge and approval of the other members of the Police Service Commission? If this is so, then on the face of it, Bliss Seepersad committed the common-law criminal offence of misbehaviour in public office.

    And what the country must realise is that in spite of the fact that Keith Christopher Rowley is very much a Machiavellian politician and the vice grip which now holds him as an oxy­moron in the unprecedented implosion/debacle of a constitutional independent Police Service Commission, he would emerge badly wounded but not politically dead in order to fight another day to hold on to the reins of government.

    And in all of these political machi­nations our democracy is in peril, starting with the Office of the President. And will Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes, ORTT, a brilliant jurist of impeccable character be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency in all these shenanigans and political bacchanal?

    Mr Griffith should have known it was not in the nature of Rowley to forgive him for branding him a ‘massa’, hypocrite and an incompetent Prime Minister. The day he uttered these insults was equivalent to, metaphorically speaking, signing his own death warrant as a public figure.

    —The author is a Senior Counsel

  8. ROLE OF THE SPEAKER
    To ensure the orderly flow of business, the House of Commons observes parliamentary rules and traditions, both written and UNRITTEN. It is the Speaker’s duty to interpret these rules impartially, to maintain order, and to defend the rights and privileges of Members, including the right to freedom of speech.

    To preserve the trust of the House, the Speaker’s actions must be impartial. Consequently, the Speaker never participates in debate, only votes in case of a tie and works to balance the right of the Government to transact business in an orderly manner and the right of all Members to be heard in debate.
    It appears to many that the Speaker was not acting indepedently, but as a member of the PNM, protecting the government against the PM’s interference in this matter.
    Yet another Institution tainted by political interference.

  9. What happened in the Parliament on October 21 was an attack on democracy. The essence of democracy is the vote, the ability to cast your vote or to vote in the absence of intimidation or violence verbal or otherwise. What we saw was a UNC mob, trying to intimidate and terrorize those who were voting against the motion to remove the President. A fascist UNC mob trying to terrorize members of the electoral college in Parliament. Now this isn’t the Southern United States where black people were lynched for even thinking of voting. This is Trinidad and Tobago where you don’t try that kind of thing at all. No plenty people shed their blood for the vote here. So these wannabe fascists who think that they can intimidate and terrorize Trinidad and Tobago people to try to stop them from voting in Parliament barking up the wrong tree. This is not the Southern United States where black people were lynched and terrorized for wanting to vote. This is Trinidad and Tobago, massa day done and we don’t have no new massa nah.

  10. So Kamla Persad-Bissessar lost another vote but look at it carefully, she seemed to be at a total lost about the process of removing a President, it seemed like she didn’t even know the relevant parts of the Constitution that dealt with that issue. She didn’t even write a proper motion. She is diving headlong into matters she doesn’t have a clue about. But then having lost, she needs excuses for losing again. There is a joke (a serious joke) about her saying, “I don’t care about Moody’s or the DPP or anyone who say I does lie, once my supporters believe my lie, to hell with everybody.” When she loses again, it always “Don’t worry, next time, next time”. The gullible supporters believe her and then … she loses again. She has decapitated the intellectual group of the UNC and brought in nincompoops and idiots who carried on like jackassess in the Parliament. Some of the older folks will remember when the opposition parties were lost in the wilderness, incapable of even conceiving of winning national elections. Kamla Persad-Bissessar is taking the UNC back to that era. What we saw in the Parliament on 21 October was a disgrace. The fallout is yet to come.

  11. The Opposition was fully aware that the vote to impeach would be defeated.
    This was an exercise in forcing a debate to expose the unconstitutional actions of the leaders of significant Institutions in the country.
    The Opposition must now use other alternative strategies to expose these bad actors.
    Those who lament the behavior of the raving Opposition members in Parliament should keep in mind that in many other countries, for example African countries, arms are taken up to express their discontent.

  12. We await patiently to see who the dictator will select as the CoP. Mae have bared her soul and is now seeing out “independent” members for the Police Service Commission. Democracy died the same day Abu Bakr died. It is widely suspected that Abu left recording and a book on his dealings with the PNM ministers. I would pay to purchase such a book, especially curious to know the deal he made with P.M. Manning.

    It is the nature of tribalist to act “ultra vires” when it comes to governance. Costa Nostra is the PNM mafioso doctrine. Keep silent, don’t talk or cooperate with law enforcement or anyone. We have seen this type of behaviour in the life of the PNM since it’s inception.

    One can safely assume nothing is independent of the PNM. The media celebrated the house speaker even though what she did was illegal. The electoral college is suppose to come up with their own rules, the lil bully that she is she made it all up. Who is going to guard the guards. She could not even allow a secret vote. She knew full well the independent senators will not openly vote against the President.

    Keith Rowley found to have lied about emailgate. Nothing came out of it,.,he has a long list of lies added to his character. Sad how low can the PM office go???

  13. The October 21 insurrection here in Trinidad and Tobago means that at any time the Kamla Persad-Bissessar mob in Parliament could, through intimidation, terrorism and bullying, seek to change the vote of members of Parliament. A democratic Parliament would be a thing of the past. It would be instead be ruled by a mob. If the highest seat of our democracy is ruled by a mob, what do we expect the rest of the country to be ruled by? Something must be done to show that there are consequences for mob behavior in Parliament, if not we will descend to mob rule. In America, the January 6 insurrection has had consequences for those trying to change the vote in Congress through intimidation and terrorism; almost 700 people have been charged so far. A President was impeached for having incited the insurrection. The mob that attacked the Capitol in Washington, D.C. sought to “disrupt the joint session of Congress assembled to count electoral votes” in the 2020 election. Isn’t that what happened here? A mob sought to disrupt the joint session of Parliament assembled to count electoral votes. A select committee was approved by the House of Congress in America to investigate the attack. The House voted on October 21, the same day that the insurrection was happening here, to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena issued by the House select committee investigating the insurrection. There are consequences for the January 6 insurrection in the US. So as a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago I am asking – Will the Kamla Persad-Bissessar mob that tried to intimidate the members of the Electoral College face no consequences for their actions and get away scot-free so that they can return and disgrace our Parliament again?

  14. So for weeks now we have been dealing with a “Constitutional crisis” based on suggestions, fancies, speculations and conspiracy theories. We had the President of our Republic brought before the electoral college to decide whether to remove the President or not, based on suggestions, fancies, speculations and conspiracy theories. While all of this was happening we witnessed a hundredfold more serious Constitutional crisis. We saw with our own eyes an attack on democracy in the Parliament, where a Kamla Persad-Bissessar mob tried to disrupt the vote of the Electoral College and through intimidation and bullying tried to get members of the Electoral College to change their vote. If anything is more of an attack on our Constitution, an attack on the very nature of democracy, show us. We saw it with our own eyes. In America, on January 6, we saw a mob try to disrupt the vote and change the vote of the Electoral College there. We saw the consequences of that insurrection. Almost 700 people have been arrested on criminal charges, the ex-President was impeached for inciting the insurrection, a committee is investigating the attack on the Capitol, an attack that was intended to change the vote of the electoral college, we saw the same thing here, a mob tried to change the vote of members of the electoral college through intimidation and bullying. So what are the consequences of this attack on our democracy? Nothing? As a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, I want to know. Does the Constitution rule, or does the mob rule? I want to know. Does the Constitution and the law rule in the Parliament, the highest law making body in the land, or does the mob rule? I want to know.

    1. The violation of the constitution and the unconstitutional conspiratories involving the Prime Minister, President and the PSC chairperson are much more serious offences than the rabble rousing conducted by the Opposition in their desire to debate the Motion, a convention in every democracy regardless of Constitutional ambiguity.
      The sensational hyperbole and misplaced exaggerations by my friend, Birdie Mclean are simply sounds of fury designed to inflame the Balisier juice drinkers, to quote my other friend, Mamoo.

  15. The President brought the sacred office into disrepute. This has nothing to do with Kamla or insurrection. This has to do with the continue misconduct of PNM officials in high place. They have made themselves a law unto themselves and are operating as gang of criminals.

    (1) The President received a list of nominees for the post of CoP. According to the Constitution , it was supposed to be sent to Parliament. That was all she was suppose to do. Instead no one knows what happened next. All people know the PolSc resigned in disgust.

    (2) The Speaker of the house did not allow a debate on the matter which is against democratic principles. You cannot put forward a motion and not have a substansive debate on that motion. What are they voting on? Moreso what are they hiding?

    (3) The sister of the PolSC should not be allowed to vote on the matter, she did. That is a conflict of interest.

    (4) The vote should have been a secret ballot, because those Presidential appointees are beholding to her.

    (5) The President is now a puppet President and should save the office from scorn by resigning.

  16. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

    “Those who lament the behavior of the raving Opposition members in Parliament should keep in mind that in many other countries, for example African countries, arms are taken up to express their discontent.”……. Our good friend TMan is consistent
    in justifying the mob behavior of the brainless Opposition Leader with that of other African countries. It seems to me that when Dr. Eric Williams took Dr. Rudranath Capildeo with him to London, it was with the hope that Trinidad and Tobago would not be like “one of those African countries”. In Africa, the colonialists made sure that the conditions they laid for the independent countries, were of such that it would take them another hundred years to understand what independence really means. Dr. Williams conditioned us here in Trinidad and Tobago before seeking independence by insuring that our local people can learn to do things for themselves without depending on “de white man”. We did a very good job by training locals to be drillers, pilots, surveyors, lawyers, doctors, engineers and so on.
    The watch word “discipline, production and tolerance”. It is unfortunate that fifty nine years after we have none of those qualities. Meanwhile the “African countries” are learning to manage themselves and have come to recognize that that they need to work towards “one Africa”. That being said, I never thought that we would be witnessing such disgraceful and unpatriotic behavior by people who believes that “this is we time to rule Trinidad and Tobago now”. And would do anything to get it. One of the things that we need here in Trinidad is ‘honest social scientists’. I use the word ‘honest’ because we lack honesty in transactional relations. Race is so deeply rooted in our psyche that it is mutely injected in every transaction where personalities can be identified. It is unfortunate that the psychology that the UNC employs is to use non-Indians to do all their “dirty” work for them. What is more unfortunate is that they are usually ready, willing and able to use their non-Indian identity to thrash the PNM. The UNC went so far as to ’employ’ calypsonians to change the way they compose their songs so that Indians would not be sung about. Remember Crazy, Sugar Aloes and the other guy? . The new trend is the so-called analysts. Notice that all the analysts that used to be considered ‘neutral’ now defends the UNC? The Winford James of today is not the same guy I respected a few years ago. The Martin Daly is not the same guy I respected a few years ago. The Selwyn Cudjoe of today is not the same guy I respected a few years ago. I used to respect Andy Johnson some years ago also. All I need to say is watch the trend of their writings, conversations and public utterances. If calypsonians can turn against their own people what is so different about analysts?

    1. “The Winford James of today is not the same guy I respected a few years ago. The Martin Daly is not the same guy I respected a few years ago. The Selwyn Cudjoe of today is not the same guy I respected a few years ago. I used to respect Andy Johnson some years ago also”….Kian

      You losing respect for these learned men who at times have defended the motherland party shows your contempt for truth.

      1. You are twisted in your thoughts Mamoo. For you THE UNC IS ALWAYS RIGHT. Its good when people are for it and bad when they are against it. Unfortunately, that is the way you see democracy. That is what the PNM is up against.

  17. “If the death of democracy is imminent, it is because we have both a Government that evades issues but attempts in vain to stifle reasoned disagreement, and a wholly unattractive Opposition that is mostly a spent force. Everything is all dangerously farcical and tangled up.” There goes Martin Daly again, taking the easy and convenient path of “both sides to blame”, not wanting to face the truth squarely and courageously. After having led the charge with suggestions, fancies and conspiracy theories about the issue of someone influencing the process of choosing the CoP, he insists on continuing along the same path. You cannot have a reasoned agreement or disagreement with someone spouting conspiracy theories, you may end up in all kinds of delusional spaces; you will only give oxygen to delusion and craziness. And if anything will lead to the death of democracy it is that delusional and crazy thinking. There are those, for instance, who still believe, without any shred of evidence, that Donald Trump won the 2020 elections. They chalk up his loss to all kinds of conspiracies to corrupt the voting process. Reasoned argument about the world must at some point deal with evidence, with facts about the world, not alternative facts that any delusional mind can think up. Reasoned argument in a Democracy must deal with facts not delusions. Martin Daly should have a moment of reflection and not lead his readers down the path of conspiracy-theory type of thinking that could really lead us to the death of democracy.

  18. One of the things my brother always tell me is that the problems facing the world are one hundred percent caused by the intelligent, educated or learned NEVER by the unlearned. We see and hear it everyday in conversations or emitted by electronic media. Early this morning, I tuned in to I95.5 and listening to Tony Lee ( whom I have a lot of respect for) giving his thoughts on the the day’s topics. He introduced his take on Independent Senator Viera’s position on the UNC’s motion to
    depose the President. While he agreed that the Senator had a mind of his own, he had doubts that the Senator’s opinion should be publicized. I was taken aback by this thinking. It was clear to me that Tony was saying that because Senator Viera’s political alignment was ‘independent’, his thoughts and actions must be neutralized. I was shocked by this understanding of the meaning of the word ‘independent’. Tony was absolutely flabagasted by the Senator’s outspoken voicing of the presentation of the motion in Parliament.

    It is exactly that kind of public interpretation of facts that disturbs me, when people who should be qualified, beam their convoluted thoughts to us through the airways. The the word ‘independent’ is attached to a political appointment, it does NOT mean neutrality of opinion. It means neutrality of partisan alignment on any given issue, but it NEVER means that an Independent senator should not have an expressed political opinion. Senators vote on those opinions in Parliament either with the government or against the government. It is an oxymoron in our style of government when we appoint ‘government senators’ and ‘opposition senators’ and expect them to be ‘independent’. THAT IS FOOLISH. Tony Lee was wrong by insisting that Independent Senator Viera should not express his opinions publicly. The senator is independent of party but NOT of thought and accuracy. Too often we confuse words and what they really mean. In this case Tony wanted us to believe that because Senator Viera has a political appointment where he is considered ‘independent’ he should not air his thoughts publicly. NONSENSE!!! When he is asked in parliament to vote on a motion he may either vote with the government or opposition as his conscience dictates and that is what truly ‘independent’ means – it does not mean that his conscience is to be muted or neutral. It is unfortunate that this kind of interpretation permeate the airways and learned people like Tony Lee, Martin Daly and Israel Khan beam to us via the media their visions of truth. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

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