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Woman put out of Senate

By Clint Chan Tack Wednesday, February 5 2014

DEBATE on a private motion on campaign finance reform in the Senate was interrupted when a woman had to be escorted out of the Parliament Chamber by police officers after she disrupted the sitting with her loud outbursts. The incident occurred at about 2.38 pm during the contribution of Independent Senator Anthony Vieira.

While he was speaking, the woman, Ruffina Ali, was heard saying repeatedly from her seat in the public gallery, “ I have a message for the Prime Minister.” On three occasions, she was cautioned by two policewomen to remain silent during the sitting. Vieira was forced to pause his contribution when the woman continued speaking. When the policewomen intervened to caution her, the woman shouted, “No minister will tell (me) to go outside.”

At this point, Senate President Timothy Hamel-Smith directed the officers to remove her from the Parliament Chamber.

The woman shouted at the senators, “All of you shutting down the Prime Minister... That is what is going on with the ministers. I am Ruffina Ali and all you have to stop this.”

When Newsday spoke to Ali outside of the Parliament Building, she said she was a resident of Cocorite. However she could not say what was the message she wanted to give Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who as an elected MP in the House of Representatives does not attend sittings of the Senate. Asked why she made her outburst, Ali said, “Because what the Opposition was speaking about, the rights...I say you are taking the rights of people.”

Ali said a police officer told her to stop talking. “They tell me some minister want to talk to me outside. I said when I finish listen to this. I will go outside,” she added. “I have rights in Parliament... I am the winner of the whole world and they taking all and everything. They are encouraging crime in Trinidad,” she declared.

Before leaving , Ali made several vague references, including one where she claimed that San Fernando East MP Patrick Manning is “the grandson of the king.”

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