There is no way the people of T&T will ever be satisfied with the explanation given by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bisessar for the early proclamation of Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceddings) Act 2011. This is the view of Opposition senator Faris Al-Rawi in response to the announcement of the dismissal of Herbert Volney last night at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s. Al-Rawi was speaking with the T&T Guardian at Guardian Media Ltd, St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain. After citizens give due consideration to the explanation given by the Prime Minister they will realise that there were a lot of inconsistencies, he said. The attorney and PNM public relations officer said the firing of Volney was not enough to rectify the situation, as it was already a foregone conclusion that the minister responsible for this act would either have to resign or be fired.
The nation is not being given a full explanation of the Attorney General’s role and function in the proclamation of Section 34, he added. “Also the Honourable Prime Minister failed to factor in any apology to the citizens of this nation. Her apology was given only to the Honourable Chief Justice and the Director of Public Prosecutions,” he said. He said Persad-Bissessar had to accept that there was negligence on the part of the Government because of the fact that the lack of consultation was not spotted earlier. Al-Rawi added that firing Volney was only dealing with part of the problem, and if it was not dealt with soon, the Government would lose public trust and confidence, both on a national and international level. PNM MP Amery Browne, who communicated with the T&T Guardian via e-mail, said the dismissal of Volney was “too weak, too little and too late.” He said the decision taken to dismiss Volney still had not explained the situation to anyone. “She has explained nothing. She has reassured no one. She has now fired yet another minister whom she never should have hired in the first place, given his long and injudicious record,” he said.
He said the Prime Minister had “totally mangled the opportunity to level with the population on the Section 34 scandal. She has explained nothing. She has reassured no one.” “Her poor judgment and weak leadership are further exemplified by her continued maintenance of Anand Ramlogan and Jack Warner in the corridors of power—they also should have no place in the governance of any civilised nation,” Browne added. Browne said Persad-Bissessar’s statement brought “comfort and reassurance to not a single citizen, except maybe the embattled Ramlogan himself.” In a television appearance on CNC3 last night after the announcement, attorney Martin Daly, SC, said he had had no doubt that Volney would be removed from office. He said he believed the march organised by the PNM had a lot to do with the decision because of the number of people who came out to sign the petition against Section 34.
He questioned why nothing had been mentioned in the PM’s explanation as to why white-collar crime was omitted from schedule six of the act. Daly also added that he wanted to know who took Volney out of the judiciary and helped him get into politics. He said the judiciary was not to blame for what happened. Daly also described the Congress of the People as “gutless,” saying the party had complained often about government policies but remained part of the People’s Partnership and were responsible for giving the Government a special majority. And in a one-line response on Facebook, former prime minister Patrick Manning, recuperating from a stroke, said: Honourable Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar this section 34 issue is not finished.