Any decision to suspend the Opposition Leader from the House is expected to be challenged in court by at least one constituent from Diego Martin West.This as Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley and all Opposition MPs who were present in the Parliament yesterday walked out of the chamber after MP for Diego Martin Northeast Colm Imbert spoke at yesterday's motion, piloted by Leader of Government Business, Dr Roodal Moonilal to suspend Rowley from the Parliament over his Emailgate allegations.
Speaking with reporters minutes later, Rowley said if he were to stay in the Parliament for the debate he would effectively be engaging in an illegal activity and consequently it may prejudice any future moves by his constituents to seek legal recourse in the matter.He said the Government was hoping "if the people of Diego Martin West challenge their (its) illegal actions, then it can be said that I participated in the proceedings and gave it such legitimacy."
Rowley said it was because of that basis "we have taken the position once again not to participate in the Government's irregular and illicit proceedings."Opposition MPs walked out of the Parliament in protest yesterday.Rowley said the Government's move to suspend a MP on a substantive motion was unprecedented in T&T and the Commonwealth.
He told reporters in the interview in Parliament yesterday the Government had every opportunity to deal with his statements on the Emailgate matter by referring him to the Committee of Privileges but it did not do that.He said if he was sent to the committee on the E-mailgate statements he would have had "no choice but to appear before the committee." He said he would have had the opportunity to challenge all that they had said.
Rowley was, however, referred to the said committee earlier yesterday for statements he made in presenting a motion of no confidence in Finance and the Economy Minister Larry Howai two weeks ago.Speaker Mark ruled that a prima facie case was made out against Rowley for alleged contempt of Parliament and he was referred to the committee for investigation.
Rowley said as a MP he also had freedom of speech.Rowley said the Government should have followed the law in seeking to challenge his statements on the matter."We will engage them on this and every other issue on the outside," he insisted.Noting that Moonilal made no mention of the Section 34 fiasco, Rowley said: "We understand that what is contained in those texts it had all to do with Section 34."
Asked if he was contemplating legal action, Rowley said he "will cross every bridge as I approach it."Saying that he was a representative of the people of Diego Martin West, Rowley added: "In the event that the Government takes any action, in or out of this House, that prejudices the interest of Diego Martin West I will be duty-bound to represent them to the end."
He said the earlier decision by House Speaker Wade Mark to refer him to the Privileges Committee was "all part of a desperation and a need for a distraction." He said the ruling of Speaker Mark was "just outright scandalous."Rowley said the standing orders provided for the mover of the motion of no confidence in Howai to present it and also wind it up the debate.