Friday, April 12, 2024

T&T Speaker facing no-confidence motion


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PORT OF SPAIN –  A no-confidence motion has been filed against Trinidad and Tobago House Speaker Wade Mark and calls are being made for his resignation.

Last Friday, a motion of censure filed by political leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) Jack Warner against Finance Minister Larry Howai collapsed after Mark said the matter of debate was before the court.

Mark, speaking before the commencement of the debate on the motion of censure, had told Parliament: “I received only a few hours ago a notice from the High Court of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, dated January 16, 2015, a matter involving Larry Howai and Azad Ali of the Sunshine Publishing Company Ltd.”

On Monday, however, the Judiciary issued a release, stating: “While there appears to be some misunderstanding which we expect the Honourable Speaker of the House to clarify, the Judiciary can confirm that no notice, letter or any other communication on the matter was forwarded by the court or any of its officers to the Speaker or any officers of the Parliament.”

On the heels of this, Mark issued a release, stating he made an “inadvertent” error when he “conveyed the impression that the High Court of Trinidad and Tobago had sent him a notice, dated January 16, 2015, of the matter (involving Howai and Ali) before it”.

Mark stated it was Howai, the subject of the motion of censure, who had notified him by letter last Thursday of his (Howai’s) lawsuit against Warner’s Sunshine newspaper.

However, former House Speaker Nizam Mohammed said he does not believe Mark made an innocent error as he claimed.

“The Honourable Speaker is most unconvincing in what he has done thus far. It is impossible to believe that he made an innocent mistake. The so-called ‘error’ was either based on principles that were morally and ethically wrong or through sheer, downright incompetence,” said Mohammed.

Referring to an allegation of witness tampering against Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Mohammed said in both cases, it was most unbecoming by the holder of that highly esteemed office.

“I fail to see how the record could be corrected and what avail. The public must be told how the Speaker was unable to distinguish between a ‘notice from the High Court of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago’ and a ‘letter’ from a minister,” he said.

“Allegation of witness tampering in a defamation suit, admitted irregular procedural steps taken by the administrative arm of the Judiciary in another similar High Court action and, now, this aborted censure motion in Parliament are all leading critically important institutions of State into murky political waters,” said Mohammed.

He said “witness tampering is a criminal offence and ought to be thoroughly investigated by the police”.

This motion of no confidence can be debated as early as February 9. However, there is another no-confidence motion ahead of it on the timetable of the House of Represen­tatives—in Minister of Finance Larry Howai, filed by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, which was approved on Monday. (Trinidad Express/NB)



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