Joy in the Senate
By Newsday Staff Wednesday, April 16 2014
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Welcome to the Senate: Presbyterian minister Reverend Joy Abdul-Mohan is escorted into the Senate by Procedural Clerk Keisha Perterkin to be sworn in ...
NEW Independent Senator Rev Joy Abdul-Mohan was yesterday sworn in as the replacement for Subhas Ramkhelawan who resigned last week.
Ramkhelawan’s seat was officially declared vacant at the Senate sitting held at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port-of-Spain.
Senate President Timothy Hamel-Smith read correspondence from the former Senator yesterday. Ramkhelawan wrote “I take the opportunity to extend best wishes to my colleagues in the Senate following upon my resignation as Senator on April 10, 2014.”
“It has been an honour to work alongside all senators in making laws intended for the greater good of the country,” he added.
Ramkhelawan in his letter also expressed appreciation to the Parliament staff for their “willing support” provided during his tenure and thanked Hamel-Smith “for the many courtesies extended”.
Ramkhelawan’s role as co-ordinator of the Independent Bench has been taken over by Senator Helen Drayton who sat at the head of the bench yesterday.
Abdul-Mohan, a 48-year-old minister of the Presbyterian Church, was congratulated on her appointment and “elevation” by Health Minister Fuad Khan in the Senate to pilot the Nurses and Midwives Amendment Bill.
Ramkhelawan, a Senator since December 2007, resigned as an Independent Senator and as chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange (TTSE) on April 10 “to ensure that the office of Senator, which I hold in very high regard, does not find itself enmeshed in any legal actions”.
There had been calls for Ramkhelawan to resign his post as TTSE chairman after the company Bourse Securities Limited, where he is managing director, was linked to the controversial purchase of 659,588 shares of the First Citizens Bank (FCB) initial public offering by the bank’s then Chief Risk Officer Phillip Rahaman. FCB subsequently fired Rahaman and Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has referred the share sale to the police, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Securities Exchange Commission for investigation.
Drayton described Ramkhelawan as being “the epitome of professionalism”.
“Subhas served in the Senate for seven years,” Drayton told the Senate during yesterday’s debate of nursing reform legislation. “We had come to expect excellent presentations. He had excellent contributions at Joint Select Committees, especially his chairing of the Joint Select Committee on Municipal Corporations and Service Commissions.”
Drayton said Ramkhelawan was always diplomatic.
“He was always very diplomatic in his relations,” she said. “He was the epitome of professionalism and we wish Subhas and his family well.”
Drayton also took the opportunity to congratulate Abdul-Mohan.
“We have no doubt Senator Abdul-Mohan will be adding wisdom and depth,” Drayton said.
Opposition Senator Avinash Singh congratulated Abdul-Mohan and said “we look forward to your participation in our legislative process”.
Singh also recognised the contributions of Ramkhelawan and said “we wish him well in his endeavours”.
Also at the sitting temporary senators Stuart Young and Dr Aysha Edwards were sworn in for Opposition Senator Shamfa Cudjoe and Independent Senator Dr Rolph Balgobin respectively. Cudjoe is away due to illness and Balgobin is out of the country.