Whoever drafted the United National Congress’ motion to remove President Paula-Mae Weekes is “incompetent.”
This was the word from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday, as he took some time from his 72nd birthday celebration to double down on his criticism of the Opposition’s motion last Thursday to remove the President and took aim at the person/s who drafted the limiting motion.
On Thursday, the UNC’s unprecedented motion failed with only 24 votes in favour and 47 votes against after the Electoral College meet in what was a historic session to remove a President.
Rowley has since been critical of the UNC’s understanding of the process and explained that the motion should have contained all the particulars they wished to raise. The motion could not be expanded or debated at Parliament and constitutionally, there was no provision for a debate at that stage. UNC members continuously clashed with House Speaker Brigid Annissette-George over these two issues during the sessions, when she continuously debarred UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar from expanding on the details of the motion and the refused calls for a debate to be entertained.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Rowley said he had re-read the UNC’s motion and only now understood the “full enormity of the incompetence” of the drafters and mover of the motion.
Rowley, in a brief text exchange with Guardian Media, said it “hit me as the monumental disaster that it is.”
“Presenting that tissue of indignation and rubbish to a Parliament in order to embarrass, denigrate and remove a President, then turn up in numbers within the confines of Parliamentary procedures demanding a favour of a debate outside of the provisions of the Constitution is almost beyond belief,” Rowley said.
“Unfortunately, that is the UNC who know that they could still count on the loyalty of their supporters, who are even led to believe that their leader was not allowed to read her motion.
“This lie is to make them believe that they are being victimised by the state establishment. They learnt well from Cambridge Analytica, when they sold our data to evil intent, now they are learning well from Trumpism.
“It’s a pity they have not chosen instead to ground themselves in the Robinsonian principles of moral and spiritual values as essential ingredients of a functioning democracy.”
Rowley said that to “hear the likes of Wade Mark and the authors of the infamous Section 34, invoke the “death of democracy” as a rallying cry, makes one wonder whether we are dealing with undertakers or ghouls.”
On Thursday, the Government bench remained silent while the Opposition bench frequently erupted in the House, demanding that t Persad-Bissessar be allowed to debate the motion.
In a press briefing after that session, Rowley described the motion as “skimpy,” saying that it did not contain the necessary particulars and details the Opposition leader needed to gain the support she may have been seeking to garner. He also accused Persad-Bissessar of trying to “move the goalpost” during the motion. Rowley said then that he was convinced that Persad-Bissessar was reading what someone wrote for her because he “refused to believe that a senior counsel” could have written what she read as a motion.
Guardian Media was informed that one senator drafted the motion, but neither that senator nor Persad-Bissessar responded to questions about who drafted the motion yesterday.
Also contacted for comment last evening on who drafted the motion, San Juan/Barataria MP Sadam Hosein said, “The motion was appropriately drafted by the Opposition. It was approved and accepted by the Speaker as an appropriate motion.”
Hosein had earlier addressed the failed motion during a UNC media conference yesterday.