Today’s meeting of the Electoral College on the Opposition United National Congress’ attempt to try to remove President Paula-Mae Weekes, comes as Government Ministers accuse the UNC of attacking the country’s Constitution and sending it into turmoil.
The points on the state of the nation were made by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and Minister in the Ministry of Finance Brian Manning during Tuesday’s PNM meeting in San Fernando, where the ruling party continued on the offensive against the Opposition.
Works Minister Rohan Sinanan also admitted “people are a little on edge” currently.
Both political sides have been on the war path more than usual on matters relating to the Prime Minister, President and Police Service Commission.
The meeting preceded this morning’s sitting in Parliament, where the Opposition hopes to get the votes needed to set up a tribunal to investigate the President towards removing her from office over the PSC issue.
The Government has defended the President in recent statements and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Tuesday answered nine questions the Opposition had demanded replies to. He then made a public appeal to Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar to withdraw the motion to prevent staining T&T’s reputation.
Rowley, in full cry on the issue, indicated he’d take his team into Parliament today to deal with the matter.
But yesterday, Opposition MP and UNC chairman Dave Tancoo said the motion won’t be withdrawn. He claimed while the Prime Minister is implicated in the matter, the President is at the heart of it.
“We’re calling on patriotism and independence of thought in the vote (today), so Senators and Ministers can vote for transparency and truth.”
There will be no debate but simply a vote from members of the Upper and Lower Houses. It will require two-thirds of the total members to pass the motion—48 votes. The PNM has a total of 38 from its MPs and Senators, UNC 25 from its total, and there are nine Independent senators. The latter were all appointed by the President.
At Tuesday’s PNM meeting Al-Rawi noted the numerous events used by the UNC to speak about the matter.
“We have some who seek to tell a story that defies language, logic, reason and jurisprudence of the Constitution,” Al-Rawi said.
He said there had been attacks on the Prime Minister that he should have no consultation with the Office of the President, and there should be running commentary and “the PM should livestream his conversations with the Office of the President.”
“Anyone looking on from outside will feel something is wrong in T&T,” Al-Rawi said, asking which country in Caricom or the Commonwealth has a situation to say a President had done something so serious and ought to be removed.
Meanwhile, Manning alluded to turmoil in the country, adding that his father — late PNM leader Patrick Manning — would have said ‘Fear no evil.’
He added that his father had said the Opposition lacked the political skills experience, training and acumen to govern the country.
“He predicted they’d have been a disaster and they have been just that…she who claims to be the mother of the nation has shown she doesn’t have what it takes to lead.”