The Opposition United National Congress (UNC) has filed a motion of privileges against Member of Parliament for Laventille West, National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds, for what they deem to be “degrading comments toward MP for Chaguanas East Vandana Mohit.”
The motion arose following remarks Hinds made in the House of Representatives on May 23, where he referred to the views of UNC members Khadijah Ameen, Anil Roberts and “the Member for Chaguanas East” as “naked, untrue and skimpy.”
It also stems from comments Hinds allegedly made to Mohit outside of the Chamber.
The motion, filed by Pointe-a-Pierre MP and Opposition Chief Whip David Lee, claims Hinds “breached one of the fundamental Privileges of Parliament which all Members are entitled to in the freedom from obstruction, interference, intimidation and molestation.”
The UNC claimed in a news release yesterday that Hinds’ statement was “unparliamentary, vile and vulgar” and contravened the immunities that are afforded to all MPs.
“At a time when girls and women are victims of unprecedented levels of violent assault, the vile language and behaviour displayed by Minister Hinds would have given no reassurance that he is capable of treating gender-based violence with the seriousness it deserves. Most worryingly, Minister Hinds clearly displays the same misogynistic view of women as those who commit physical and sexual assault,” the party’s statement said.
In the motion, which will be brought before the House today and which was circulated to the media yesterday, Lee will argue that despite the ruling of the Speaker that Hinds should be “careful with comments that are unparliamentary,” Hinds “persisted with the vulgar, derogatory, unparliamentary and intimidating statements of same against the Member for Chaguanas East during the suspension of the sitting within the Parliamentary chamber where there was no protection of the Standing Orders nor the Honourable Chair to be sought.”
The motion will state, “It is clear that the unparliamentary, vulgar and offensive insinuations unfairly made by the Member for Laventille West against the Member for Chaguanas East is a clear act of molestation and act to intimidate as such actions continued within the Chamber during the suspension of the sitting after the Member’s contribution ended. Such actions breached the Privileges of this House and the Immunities offered to all Members which are expected to be preserved, protected as well as upheld at all times.”
Lee will tell the House that “the undertaking of such actions by Hinds while the sitting was suspended but within the precincts of the Parliament still equate to contempt as equally as if it was done in a sitting.”
The motion will also claim that “this form of abuse and disregard for the privileges of the House is not an isolated incident but rather part of a persistent intent of menacing behaviour by the Member of Laventille West towards the Member of Chaguanas East which must not be allowed to go further.”