Volney set to go, PM ready for bye-election
Tuesday, September 17 2013
ST Joseph MP Herbert Volney is set to trigger a December bye-election in his constituency after a television news report yesterday that he will not legally challenge Speaker Wade Mark’s expulsion of him from Parliament.
Promising to issue a formal statement tomorrow, Volney told the station he is now setting the groundwork for his exit. This news means the country will see an unprecedented four elections this year — the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) polls in January, the Chaguanas West bye-election in July, the Local Government Elections in October and now the St Joseph bye-election likely in December.
“I have made up my mind,” Volney told the station. “I am preparing my staff and constituents as best as I can for my retirement. I will make the announcement via a media release on Wednesday. I’m not going before the cameras again.”
A bye-election must constitutionally be held within 90 days of Volney’s resignation, giving a bye-election date likely of mid-to-late December.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday said the People’s Partnership (PP) was prepared for any eventuality as it relates to the St Joseph seat, including the possibility of losing the constituency if a bye-election is called.
But she said notwithstanding any decision taken by Volney, who won the seat on a United National Congress ticket in the 2010 general elections, she did the right thing by invoking the provisions of Section 48 and Section 49 (A) of the Constitution.
“I took an oath to uphold the Constitution,” she said, when asked to respond to claims that Volney was set to resign as the St Joseph MP this week.
“We have to wait and see what he does,” Persad-Bissessar said, adding that the party was “prepared for any eventuality, including losing that seat.”
On July 30, Volney resigned from the United National Congress and on September 9, Speaker Wade Mark declared Volney could no longer function as a member of the House of Representatives.
Mark’s move was precipitated by the Prime Minister informing him in writing of Volney’s resignation from the UNC in accordance with Section 48 of the Constitution.
Volney has 14 days to legally challenge or accept the Speaker’s ruling and this period ends on September 23.
Volney, who has aligned himself with the Independent Liberal Party, led by Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner, is yet to also say whether he will return as a candidate if a bye-election is called for the St Joseph seat.
Persad-Bissessar announced that Minister of the Environment and Water Resources Ganga Singh was caretaker of St Joseph. The Congress of the People, a member of the PP coalition, is also reportedly interested in contesting the St Joseph seat.