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Volney: I forgive PM for firing me
Dismissed justice minister Herbert Volney says Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was wrong to fire him. But he has forgiven her. Volney was fired on September 20 for allegedly misleading the Cabinet for the early proclamation of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act 2011.
The Prime Minister had said in an address to the nation that the Cabinet had consented to the early proclamation of the legislation on the advice given it by Volney. She said Volney had indicated that CJ Archie was in full support of the move. Archie, however, was critical of the development, indicating that he had not been consulted. Within days Persad-Bissessar fired Volney.
There was public outrage against the Government’s decision to hastily proclaim the legislation on August 28 after it was revealed that it could be used to gain the freedom of reputed UNC financiers Ish Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson who are on corruption charges.
The legislation went into effect on August 31 (Independence Day). One of the major provisions of the measure was to have court matters dismissed if they were not tried within ten years of the offences being committed. Yesterday, with a rosary in his fingers, Volney said, in an interview in Parliament, that life was about forgiveness.
“To move forward, you have to forgive. And I have forgiven the Prime Minister,” Volney said. “You know we all make errors in life. I think my dismissal is an error.” Volney, who represents St Joseph, said his dismissal “was precipitated by a march and by certain internal pressure.” He repeated his forgiveness of Persad-Bissessar.
“She is a good woman, her heart is in the right place. She could make errors.” Volney said he and the PM exchanged smiles yesterday, “and I thought it was a genuine exchange between us.” In response to further questions, Volney said he was not aware if the PM’s decision to fire him was based on advice or was done impulsively in response to the Opposition march.
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley led a huge crowd, including the leader of the Movement for Social Justice David Abdulah and the general secretary of the National Trade Union Centre, Vincent Cabrera, from the Red House to the Office of the President, St Ann’s, where he presented a petition to acting President Timothy Hamel-Smith calling for the dismissal of Volney and Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.
Volney said he didn’t think the Leader of Government Business, Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal, was being serious when he said government support for his St Joseph constituency might not be forthcoming. Volney said Moonilal could not be serious, because “I don’t think that the Government will chance losing the St Joseph seat.”
“Quite to the contrary, he has assured me that the Government will do everything to support me to ensure that St Joseph remains yellow (the UNC colour).”
Volney said he was prepared to speak in defence of the Attorney General when a motion of censure against the AG is debated in Parliament later this month. It was brought by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley for Ramlogan’s alleged role in the proclamation of the legislation.
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