Last update: 10-Dec-2013 12:25 am
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Volney on Mark’s ruling: Elector plans to sue him
A St Joseph elector is preparing a legal constitutional motion against Speaker Wade Mark’s ruling that outgoing St Joseph MP, Herbert Volney, should have ceased to function in that role, Volney said yesterday. Mark is expected to declare the seat vacant at today’s sitting of Parliament. On September 9, Mark called on Volney to cease performing his functions as MP following a letter from Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who said Volney had resigned from the UNC. Volney won the seat on a UNC ticket in 2010.
Mark based his action on segments of Section 49 of the Constitution. He gave Volney 14 days to file any legal action contesting the situation but Volney did not. A by-election must be held up to a maximum of 90 days—up to December 27 latest—after the seat is declared vacant. Persad-Bissessar is the person who has the power to announce the date.
Volney said yesterday while he had not filed any legal action, he had learnt an elector from St Joseph was preparing to go to court over the Speaker’s ruling and “to prove it wrong and that the MP was wrongfully removed from the St Joseph seat.” He said the action was not being taken by him and he had just learnt about it.
Volney said he did not believe the court action would halt a by-election, since he had stopped performing as MP, as mandated, had not filed any legal action in the required 14-day period and now that was up, the seat was being declared vacant, possibly today. He added: ”It’s the right of any elector to take the action that is being undertaken, as I understand it.
“If an elector feels they elected me for five years and feel they have been wronged by being deprived of my representation for five years, they are free to seek any action, I would think. This has nothing to do with me. I was ready to go.” Volney said he had vacated the St Joseph MP’s office which Parliament would keep open for the next MP. A former judge, he said he intended to rebuild a practice specialising in the transformation of the criminal justice system, since he felt he had some expertise in that regard.
Volney was Justice Minister until he was fired a year ago over the Section 34 issue. He said he doubted he would appear on Jack Warner’s ILP platform although he joined the party but would be on walkabouts. He added he did not think ILP hopeful for St Joseph, attorney Om Lalla, would win. He said: “Mr Lalla isn’t a good choice and the PNM would beat him if he contested for ILP. I have received lots of calls from my former constituents on articles that he was tipped for the seat for the ILP.
“I know my people. You need a person in St Joseph with roots on the ground and I have told Mr Warner that Lalla will lose if he went up. That’s the feeling I get on the ground.”
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