Penny accuses Govt of deceit

By Julien Neaves and Marlene Augustine
August 13 2014 –

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeFORMER Arima MP and Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, Pennelope Beckles-Robinson, says Government has been “misleading the people” that the issue of a runoff elections was included in the consultations by the Constitution Reform Commission and described the government’s attempt to introduce constitutional changes at this stage as “an exact replica” of what occurred with Local Government elections and proportional representation.

She was speaking with the media on Monday after attending the sitting of the House on the Constitution (Amendment) Bill which has three main provisions: runoff elections in a constituency if no candidate receives 50 percent or more of the vote; right of recall of MPs; and a limit of two terms for prime ministers.

She said these three issues are being dealt with a year before general elections and recalled that the Government had also attempted to introduce proportional representation just a few months before the Local Government elections in October 2013.“ And they again were claiming that you had proportional representation in the report and I drew to the attention of the Parliament (then) that there was no such thing in that report.

So you have a total repeat where they are coming again and saying that you had it in the report and clearly it was not in the report,” she said.

She pointed out there was a private and confidential document that went to the Prime Minister that appeared to have raised concerns, but it was not for public consumption.

“So the truth is that it is an exact replica of what took place in relation to Local Government…where they came and said you had this during the consultation — when you check the report it was never there,” she said.

She also said if there was something in their manifesto and they wanted to bring it forward then that was fine “but don’t go and use people’s credibility (those in the commission)…(and) that recommendation was not there.” Beckles-Robinson added that if it was part of the consultation they should be able to provide documentary evidence.

Communication Minister, Vasant Bharath, in response to criticisms over the bill by Opposition Leader, Dr Keith Rowley, said that Beckles-Robinson and Diego Martin Central MP, Dr Amery Browne, attended and participated in the Arima and Diego Martin public consultations.

She responded yesterday: “I attended the Local Government consultation, I attended the consultation on the Constitution. There were certain issues that I wanted to put forward when I attended. I don’t know why they are using my name like if is to suggest that I have condoned or supported it.”

On the term limits for the prime minister and the right of recall for MPs, she noted that it was included in the Partnership manifesto but for the runoff “that is a totally different story and when you look at the bill it’s very complex issue.” On the recall, she noted there was no stated criteria for performance and the requirement of 21 people signing a petition and three quarters of a constituency signing one year before the four year period, “I really think it is quite a joke because I don’t see how that is going to happen.”

She also spoke about the gathering of protesters outside the Parliament.

“ We have seen it where people come out for days to give their views, and I think it is important that people are here and it’s important for the Government to pay attention more and more. We understand that we have a little population. The important thing is that as a people we are realising that people have been becoming more literate, they are educated and knowledgeable, they want to be part of the political process…,” she said.

“I don’t think that runoff is power to the people, power to the people is what you see here today, you cannot casually say that runoff is power,” she stressed.


12 thoughts on “Penny accuses Govt of deceit”

  1. “I don’t think that runoff is power to the people, power to the people is what you see here today, you cannot casually say that runoff is power,” she stressed.

    So why Penny is it in the PNM Constitution? Seems to me that you are against your own Constitution.

  2. It is about time that the educated masses of T&T rise up against the rampaging behaviour of this present Administration.
    If they are allowed to plunder our CONSTITUTION as they are doing with the TREASURY, T&T will find itself less than a 3rd.
    world nation or perhaps a begging colony of [Hindustan} India


    The late renowned scholar Trinidadian C.L.R. James in his landmark publication The Black Jacobins describes on page 15 what he terms the “profound fatalism and a wooden stupidity [of the slaves] before their masters” I will cite just one of his four examples.

    “Through the shirt of another [slave], a master can feel the potatoes which he denies he has stolen. They are not potatoes, he says, they are stones. He is undressed and the potatoes fall to the ground. ‘Eh! master. The devil is wicked. Put stones, and look, you find potatoes.’”

    Why do I mention this fatalism of the slaves who steadfastly refused to admit their devious behaviour blaming everything outside of their control for their misdemeanour and seeming embarrassment?

    Let’s see how well you are in tune with our national politics. Can you identify this fatalistic behaviour of the slaves with any similar behaviour of the People’s Partnership (PP) leadership in the national politics of Trinidad and Tobago – abject denial in the face of incontrovertible evidence? Instead of admitting their mistakes, for to err is human, with brazen shamelessness, they provoke the ire and offend the sensibility of the population by unconscionably and spitefully blaming some other entity especially their favourite whipping horse the People’s National Movement (PNM).

    Some salient examples. The latest of such objectionable behaviour is the current Run-off Poll in their Constitution Reform Bill that the prime minister laid in parliament. Whist the outcry against the provision openly displays the consensus among the people that there was no consultation on this fundamental provision affecting the procedure s for voting, and scrutiny of the documentation proves this, the government persists in using the twenty-one consultations that never discussed it as proof that the people were consulted on the provision. And they continue to blame the PNM and its leader Dr. Rowley for stating that their undemocratic behaviour can create social instability in the society. Their crass disdain for the “Vox Dei” accepts no blame. Political fatalism?

    We can remember, even if we are diehard supporters of the PP, the issue of the appointment of Reshmi Ramnarine as head of the SSA or was it ISA. The prime minister on that occasion, in parliament, waded into the leader of the opposition accusing him of introducing race into the issue and some of the leading spokespersons of the PP in and outside of parliament initially claimed that Reshmi was eminently qualified for the position. This was not true. Fortunately in the end Reshmi resigned. Political fatalism?

    Let’s turn to the state of emergency in 2012. After proclaiming that she had asked the president to declare a partial state of emergency and there were legitimate questions about the meaning, legality and logistics of a partial state of emergency, the prime minister denied that she had said it was partial. Listeners to Radio i95.5FM will recall that the radio station, without adding any comment, simply played the recording of the prime minister making the announcement of the partial state of emergency. Political fatalism?

    Now to the proclamation of Section 34. Facts are (1) the proclamation was made by the president on the advice of the Cabinet and the Prime Minister. (2) the parliament, including the opposition, passed the legislation inclusive of section 34; (3) the government agreed to put certain things in place before the proclamation; (4) the agreed promised things were not put in place before the proclamation; (5)the reason submitted to the president for the proclamation was not valid. What has happened since the proclamation is that the PP has deliberately postulated that they did the will of the parliament, and refused to admit that it was the Cabinet and not parliament that advised the proclamation without putting in place the agreed things. Political fatalism?

    The answer to the above question of political fatalism is PP fatalism. It is fatalism used to deliberately ignore the will of the people and thereby engage nationally in disingenuous behaviour.

    I wonder whether history will repeat itself. The historical fact is that slavery was abolished.

  4. The outcry against the Run-Off poll is coming mainly from members of the Port of Spain PNM establishment and their supporters who when questioned outside Parliament while protesting, did not know what the Run-Off was.
    Reshme was recommended to the PM by the civil servants responsible for vetting her application which contained false information. This was a setup.
    The state of emergency was partial in an area of the capital which was responsible for most of the crime in T&T. No apology should be offered for that.Today the Police is killing young criminals in these same areas. Do you prefer instant death or arrest and rehabilitation?
    The Minister responsible for manipulating Section 34 has been fired.
    Twenty Ministers have either resigned or have been fired by this PM. Many of these Ministers were included in government by the PM in an attempt to be inclusive, sometimes overlooking experience and qualifications in order to satisfy all segments of society.

    1. TMan, be honest the opposition to the run-off portion of this bill comes mainly from those of us who are NOT uninformed about the constitutionality of the process.
      What you guys are focussing on is the issues of PR and
      ‘giving the people more democracy’ whatever that means.
      Argue your case on the merits of your persuasion, not name calling and the boogeyman ‘PNM’. We know and understand the coded message of ‘the PNM’. Your arguments would be sounder if you choose to concentrate on the merits.

  5. This may answer the question of whether history is repeating itself:

    Ramlogan said, “in 1956 a total of 105,000 people voted for the PNM while 159,000 voted against them but the PNM formed the government. In 1991, he said, 233,000 voted for the PNM while 284,000 voted against the party, but the PNM formed the government. He said in 2007, 299,763 voted for the PNM while 351,763 voted against the PNM, but the PNM formed the government”.

    Go on Robin Montano’s blog and he gives an erudite breakdown of the ‘run off’.

    Critics of this proposal say that :
    – this is undemocratic because it is unfair to the candidate that came first;
    – it is unfair to third parties because they will be automatically excluded in the run off election;
    – there is the very good chance that in a run off not everybody who voted the first time around will vote in the second round; therefore the possibilty exists that the eventual winner will get less than 50 percent of the votes cast in the first round;
    – that there should have been public consultation before such an important and fundamental
    provision was brought in; there hasn’t been enough time to consider it carefully;
    – one of the members of the Constitution Commission has been reported as saying that there was no
    discussion on this in the Commission;
    – that a run-off could leave the government of the country in a political limbo for two weeks, which
    is an unacceptably long time.

    And that, in a nutshell, are the criticisms. And the answers? Let’s take them one by one … tomorrow!

    1. If what you write is your reasoning as well as the reasoning of the rest of the tribe……then the real reason for the run-off is to constitutionally defeat the PNM? Plain and simple! Then that is what you guys should be saying…….
      is that more democracy? what is more democracy? Is that the end of black rule? end of PNM rule? beginning of UNC/Indian perennial rule? Judging by what you write this must be the interpretation… have a GOOD DAY.


    “Magna Carter moment “indeed! Didn’t Patrick Manning , with no prompting whatsoever ,hand over power twice to you bozos , by calling early elections?That was Magna Carter moment.Giving up power.
    When that former horse police/gold keeper, turn Islamist bandit Lennox
    Phillip, aka Yasin Abu Bkar, along with his goons , attacked our Parliament, and almost murdered the globally respected Statesman, ANR Robinson, then hid like a chicken, behind his adopted religion, and Mama Britain’s Privy Council , yet to date, him ,his 6 wives,political/religious handles , never paid a price? That was Magna Carter too, no?
    Just were the hell do we find these intellectual comedians?
    This political lightweight, with the help of Afro Trinis self serving cowards ,that make up her regime, has done more to destroy basic Human Rights principles,and fundamental Democratic ideals,that we as a nation historically subscribe to.
    Speaking about mimicking dem Yankee Magna Cater, our Founding Fathers, must be turning over in their respective graves , as they witness in spirit, the pathetic state Her MadJesTrick Queen K, and fellow country hating pirates ,have dragged our once beloved Twin Republic down to.
    Fortunately, ‘this too shall pass,’as her reign ends.
    Ummmmmm, ….a few more months, then it’s back to the political wilderness, where they belong, hopefully, for 2 more decades.
    Stay vigilant people, and more importantly, do whatever you can ,to keep dem self serving barbarians, from overrunning de T&T Perley gates.
    Hey Royal Trini,and fellow , tribalist TMan, a word of advice to you both, as well as all your one time , refugee braying amigos – don’t give up them high priced,cockroach infested apartments, in downtown New York, London , and Toronto , just yet.
    Captain /Uncle Rowley, is about to stake his claim, to reposition the “sinking ,”Ship of state,that is about to run aground, under Auntie K.
    Yeah T-Man, we know , the Westmoorings, by way of Mason Hall Wajang, is the reincarnation of ID Dada Amin,and so, our extremely peaceful, law abiding, post racial, culturally sound, industrious, ever patriotic, Indo Trini brothers and sisters ,might have to take sudden flight again, leaving all their hard earned wealth, for ‘dem savages,’as was done,when Ahh Wee Bouy ,ruled the political roost, ennnnnt?
    Tell me folks , with citizens like these, who needs enemies, ehhh?
    I luv dis land , Y tu?

    1. ‘Hey Royal Trini,and fellow , tribalist TMan, a word of advice to you both, as well as all your one time , refugee braying amigos – don’t give up them high priced,cockroach infested apartments, in downtown New York, London , and Toronto , just yet.’
      Have a chat with this ‘braying amigo’ as one policeman to another not about apartments but apprehending criminals. How much did you apprehend?

  7. We eh going nowhere Neal…Life too sweet in T&T….we making too much money and money is power…Bring on Rowley. As the calypso goes….

    Leave we worries by the door steps
    For that tonite we have no time
    We go deal with that tomorrow
    Tonight we going out to lime
    We go do ah little soca
    We will do ah ittle grind
    We go do a little back back
    And show them youngsters how to wine

    Tonight the black man feeling to party
    Tonight the black man feeling to jam jam jam jam jam
    Tonight the black man just here to boogie woogie
    Come on come on hold on to yuh man
    And leh we do
    Leh we do
    Leh we do ah little oy!
    Bang Bang Ba dang ba bang ###

  8. Ha ha ha! Well done my Brother TMan.
    It’s certainly a great day in our T&T, as once more, our politicians came through, and helped bolster our Democracy.

    Long live the Republic!

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