T&T Opposition shoots down ‘right to recall legislation’

T&T Opposition shoots down ‘right to recall legislation’

Thursday, July 03, 2014

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — The main opposition People's National Movement (PNM) says it will not support any move by the coalition People's Partnership government to introduce the "right to recall Members of Parliament (MPs)", saying this would result in chaos in Trinidad and Tobago.

"I am seeing it being said that a petition of 10 per cent (of the constituents) could result in a recall election. What that would result in is perpetual elections because those who did not win the seat would immediately embark upon a petition of 10 per cent.

"We have enough instability with the kind of government we have now and the arrangements between parties and non-parties in office; the PNM will not be supporting this arrangement because we believe it would bring no benefits," PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley said.

He told a news conference that the present coalition headed by Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar "is a good example that you must be careful with whom you put into office".

He said any attempt to remove them "every Monday morning" under the proposed recall legislation "will simply generate instability, economic stagnation and all kinds of other unpleasantries".

Rowley said he was also questioning why Prime Minister Persad Bissessar was now moving to introduce such legislation with general elections due within the coming year.

"During the period 2010 to 2014, when there were numerous instances for recall, the Government showed no interest in recall being legislative. Now that the Government is on its way out, by way of a final recall, which we always had, we're now hearing that (it) wants to legislate for recall of parliamentarians."

He said Prime Minister Persad Bissessar had not moved to remove the embattled Sports Minister Anil Roberts from her Cabinet following the controversy surrounding the LifeSport programme.

Prime Minister Persad Bissessar has removed the multimillion-dollar project from the Ministry of Sport to the Ministry of National Security and has ordered an audit into its operations.

But the Opposition contend there are many instances of fraud and other irregularities within the programme that the Government said was designed to deal with the escalating crime situation among young people of the country.

Rowley said the case for removing Roberts "has been made, not once, but repeatedly with respect to the minister of sport, who has so conducted his ministerial responsibility that there are issues of security of the State and the lives of known individuals are being put at risk because of activities at the Ministry of Sport.

"We see no recall there and as a matter of fact, what I saw on Friday in the Parliament was coaching of (Roberts) as to how to respond to a motion of censure against him, and that coaching (was) being done by the PM. Yet she is leading a charge to bring about something called 'recall' which we know formed part of the campaign of the 2010 election."

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