Vote against AG
By Darcel Choy Friday, September 28 2012
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Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley...
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley intends to file a motion of censure in the Parliament against Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.
He made the announcement on Wednesday night at the People’s National Movement (PNM) public meeting at the Pavilion Car Park at Five Rivers Junction, Arouca.
He said Ramlogan could not be trusted as he gave assurances to senators and to Members of Parliament in the Lower House that the controversial Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act that the Government would have to come back with further administrative matters before full implementation.
On Sunday, Rowley gave Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar a three-day ultimatum to remove Ramlogan for his involvement in the early proclamation of Section 34 on August 31.
He said Ramlogan had a lot of questions to answer and he was prepared to file these questions on Parliament record. He explained as the 2012/2013 Budget will be read in Parliament on Monday, the motion will be filed but it will remain there until the last Friday in October.
“I will read into the record to Parliament every detail of the timeline of what they have done for posterity. When I am through with that I will ask them to stand up in front of you live on television and vote for or against an Attorney General so accused. I will also ask my colleagues in the Upper House to move a similar motion in the Senate and we will wait to hear what the Opposition and the Independent senators say,” he said.
Rowley said if after the motion Ramlogan was still in office, he will let the Tobago House of Assembly move a similar motion to hear what leader of the Tobago Organisation of the People Ashworth Jack had to contribute on the issue.
He also announced to the large gathering that he was expected to meet with Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) political leader David Abdulah and leaders of the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) today at 4 pm at a neutral venue.
He said he reached out to these groups informing them that the country was in crisis and there was a need for a united national front.
Rowley disclosed he has summoned a special General Council of the People’s National Movement for Sunday at 10 am where he will put to the council his proposal for treating with this development.
“The time has come for somebody to put Trinidad and Tobago first. I assure you we don’t exist for our own benefit, we exist to put Trinidad and Tobago first,” he said.
Rowley dismissed a panel discussion of Housing Minister Roodal Moonilal, National Security Minister Jack Warner, Sports Minister Anil Roberts, Local Government Minister Suruj Rambachan and Ashworth Jack, broadcast on prime-time TV on Wednesday evening around the same time of the PNM public meeting. The discussion was hosted by the Education Ministry’s director of communications Hansley Ajodha and was broadcast on national and cable television networks. Rowley said this was similar to what was done in communist countries.
He also dismissed radio advertisements that he said had no moral authority to address anything Government did because of what happened in the PNM administration with former Udecott chairman Calder Hart.
“If anybody in this country could talk about Calder Hart it is me, I spoke about Hart from a PNM Cabinet. I was a member of the Cabinet, when I saw a PNM Cabinet not living up to the fundamental principles of morality in public affairs I took issue with that. I took issue with how Udecott was being managed and with the reign the Prime Minister (Patrick Manning) gave him to manage its affairs. This pales in significance to action where a Cabinet allowed itself to use the Parliament to allow people to walk free,” he said.
Commenting on Ramlogan’s statements on Tuesday that he was only versed in civil matters and not criminal ones were Senator Faris Al Rawi and MP for Diego Martin North/East Colm Imbert.
Ramlogan had said the criminal portfolio was assigned to the Justice Ministry and the gazetted allocation of ministerial responsibility placed criminal legislation and the reform of the criminal justice system under that particular ministry. St Joseph MP Herbert Volney headed the Justice Ministry before his firing by the Prime Minister for misleading to the Cabinet that the Chief Justice and Director of Public Prosecutions knew Section 34 would be proclaimed before next year.
He piloted the Administration of Justice Bill last November, subsequently introducing an amendment to the clause that said cases should be discontinued if they were ten years old from the date of an alleged offence, changing the original time from the date of when charges were laid. Imbert pointed out that if was true that Volney has responsibility for criminal legislation in the Gazette published June 16, 2010 it was removed according to the Gazette published July 13, 2011.
“When you go to the responsibilities of justice as of that date Kamla took away criminal legislation from him. From July 2011, Volney had no ministerial responsibility for criminal legislation, the Prime Minister took it away,” he said.
Al-Rawi pointed out while Ramlogan admitted he was not versed in criminal law he led several debates on criminal bills in Parliament including the Bail Amendment Act 2011, the Kidnapping and Bail Act 2011, the Anti-Gang Act 2011 and the Miscellaneous Provisions Financial Intelligence Unit and Anti-Terrorism Act 2012.
He then questioned whether the Opposition should demand that the Prime Minister recall the debates for examination of all of these bills.
Port-of-Spain Mayor Louis Lee Sing after a statutory meting yesterday at City Hall in Port-of- Spain gave his full support to Rowley. He said Government could not be trusted and the Prime Minister should call an early election.