Destruction of democracy at the threshold in Trinidad and Tobago

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Dear Sir

Last Friday’s conduct by the government marked a dark day in our nation’s parliamentary history as it is now clear that the Dr Keith Rowley regime has thoroughly massacred the principles of our parliament and is geared towards destroying our democracy.

It is horrendous and appalling that the government sought to ambush the opposition yesterday by derailing the decorum as well as the precedent our parliament has operated by for decades when the leader of government business opted to “spring” three additional matters of business on parliamentarians without prior notice.

After the last sitting of the House of Representatives on Friday, May 8, 2020, the leader of government business gave notice that the only scope of businesses that would be before parliamentarians at the next sitting of the House would be the conclusion of the debate to Adopt the Report of the JSC on the Gambling (Gaming and Betting) Control Bill, 2016.

Shamefully, in total contravention to the decorum adhered to within our parliament, the leader of government business informed the opposition on the day of parliament, a mere two hours before the start of the sitting that government intended to debate three further issues, namely the Bail Bill, the Private Security Industry Bill and the Approval of the Land Acquisition (Requisition) Order, 2018.

The actions by the leader of government business can only be described as “politically vindictive” as the member’s years of experience would make her thoroughly aware that notice is not only a matter of courtesy but it is done to ensure parliamentarians are properly prepared and enables them to consult members of the public in a timely manner so they can best represent the views of the electorate.

As a matter of fact, at the end of Fridays sitting, the leader of government business herself asked the opposition for notice on what the opposition intends to debate at the upcoming private members’ day, showing her earlier rationale to be thoroughly misconstrued and misguided.

Going forward, we must now ask, will this regime be practising “Gestapo Politics” by stripping the parliament bare of the tools which protects its operations, leaving the opposition to guess what they intend to debate in upcoming sittings, effectively destroying the proper functioning of parliamentary democracy?

The government’s disingenuous approach caught their ministers off-guard as even the committee stage of the Private Security Industry Bill collapsed as the needed amendments were not ready, reflecting a government intent on twisting acceptable parliamentary procedure to sway the national narrative away from their reckless acts with Venezuelan officials which have endangered our nation.

David Lee 

Member of Parliament, Point-a-Pierre

1 COMMENT

  1. Good morning to all,
    In my humble opinion the articles substance from what I’ve read (in the above seen article)and as an independent (no political alliance) citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, the intent of proceedings mentioned has strengthen my belief that we are heading into a communist type of leadership-rather than nurturing and maintaining our democracy, sadly to the belief of those in charge that we ( the citizens) won’t be given a chance to refuse dictatorship. It is very evident to me that the responses to concerning questions and queries being brought forward are answered in the form of excuses and untruths, which are highlighted within as unacceptable and very undesirable. Today I’ve chosen to highlight some of the high risk decisions being made for our country and it’s general pollution on a hold that to me are as follows:
    These questions are to Dr. Rowley;
    1/Why wasn’t technology used and/or considered to conduct this meeting online ( ie zoom app) instead of breaching international US sanctions against the Venezuela VP traveling and the other foreign members?
    2/ Why were all these said visitors allowed to enter our country and be exempted from being mandatory testing for the coronavirus and further exempted from being put into fourteen days quarantine ( satisfying our security and proactive safety measures that our recent legislative COVID 19 would have made everyone else “including you” entering our country subject too)?
    3/ If the agenda of your meeting with Venezuela’s VP be true to what you’ve described, my questions you is why didn’t you’ll proactively suggest via an online discussion that Venezuela government focus on fixing this existing problem of their citizens leaving their shores to Migrate to our shores on the Venezuela end , instead of coming here to fix our border breaches?
    Sharing from risk assessment point view that your ( grandiosity observed) decision on this matter to approve this unsanctioned meeting and breech all covid 19 preventative safety measures and international security measures ( sanctions ) you have put every citizen at risk of potential international sanctions/ blacklisting of our country by the US, along with putting our yourselves (you and the other ministers) at risk of becoming infected, and opening a high potential opportunity of a new foreign infected host into our country. Which raises another question:
    1/Have you or any of the other locals ( who attended that meeting) been tested? since you’ll chose to be exposed to the high risk potential of being in a closed room with foreign individuals who haven’t been tested for the virus? Have you’ll undergone quarantine for observation for symptoms? ( as you would enforce any of us normal citizens to do!)
    4/ The most alarming concern and question to you from me is: why have you’ll denied citizens and/ or a citizen entry to his own country (who’s has been quarantined and tested with results showing -negative ) ?
    I personally know of one Trinidadian who’s presently within the Caribbean islands awaiting permission to return to his homeland (since our boarder has been closed ) due to this undesirable pandemic event, but you have allowed entry to foreigners that have US sanctions against them 🤨foreigners who by international law are NOT allowed here?

    I look forward to sensible answers to the above questions, if they’re any at all.
    I ask that you try to be honest with your responses as I’ve honored you with my honest concerns via questions.

    Thanking you in advance
    Aaron B

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