Opposition leader Kamla Persad- Bissessar has roasted Independent Senators for their criticism of the UNC’s behaviour in last Thursday’s Parliament sitting on its motion to remove President Paula-Mae Weekes and has also threatened legal action against the House Speaker.
Speaking at last night’s UNC Forum, Persad-Bissessar said the tradition was not to criticise Independent senators but added that those days are over.
“You stepped out of your crease to do battle for the PNM in the political gayelle (in Parliament)...so check yourself! We are on your case and we shall expose who you are!”
The motion sought to impeach President Weekes on issues concerning the selection of a Police Commissioner and the collapse of the Police Service Commission but was defeated by Government and Independent votes - 24 for-47 against.
Persad-Bissessar said the legal action the UNC intends to take will be against the “unilateral illegal guidelines” used by House Speaker Brigid Annisette-George on the process for the motion.
She added, “All of the Government MPs and Senators, together with all of the so-called Independent Senators (appointed by the President) voted to keep secret whether PM (Dr Keith) Rowley and President Weekes acted in concert to interfere in the PSC’s merit list for the post of Commissioner.
“They didn’t want the President to be investigated. They voted to treat her like a queen who cannot be questioned. They voted to keep you in the dark as to why, for the first time in our history, T&T doesn’t have a CoP or Acting Commissioner, or an independent PSC which can appoint a Commissioner.”
She added, “One of the most disgraceful things about the vote was watching how the so-called Independent Senators capitulated to the PNM’s will, as opposed to standing up for the people. These Senators are handpicked by the President, so how can they be expected to vote to investigate her?”
She said there was no secret ballot “because this PNM Government wanted to put as much pressure on the Independent Senators as possible.”
“These so-called Independent Senators, do they find it disgraceful that because of Rowley, for the first time in history, that we have no CoP, no Acting CoP and only one DCP and PSC? That the country doesn’t know if the Prime Minister illegally influenced the Commission or the President in his vendetta against Gary Griffith, or whether the President and PSC acted against the law in keeping the Merit List away from Parliament?”
She asserted, “This notion of ‘Independent Senators’ has, over the last 50 years, bred the nasty idea that a portion of the population is somehow superior, and they look down on the others, calling them tribal, base, disrespectful and disgraceful. It’s an attractive concept for some, who will always mimic their views in order to be seen as part of the elite class. Panday called them the parasitic oligarchy.
“We have in essence invented our own aristocracy, where these little barons and baronesses are handpicked, and they now want to laud it over the rest of us...relative unknowns are elevated and given the right to pontificate on Divali Nagar and to tell us what is ‘respectable’ and who is disgraceful, because they are somehow above the ordinary citizens. But they never say anything when the Prime Minister goes on political platforms and cusses those who oppose him.”
“Some of their masks have slipped though. One of them was as silent as a lamb in the Parliamentary Chamber last Thursday, and he has now come out in the media to attack the Opposition and an Opposition Senator. He’s entered the political gayelle... but you can’t play mas and fraid powder!” she added in obvious reference to comments made about the UNC’s behaviour during the motion by Independent Anthony Vieira.
“When all these Independent Senators could jump out if themselves to criticise the Opposition for demanding the right to represent the views of the population, but will never comment on serious allegations of political interference by the Prime Minister in the appointment of a Commissioner, ask yourself who they are really representing.”