TO FOLLOW the current sustained political agitation by Opposition parliamentary parties against Governments in Port of Spain and Georgetown, the less informed may be inclined to think that the domestic political pressures are so intense for resignations of senior ministers that the administrations may well genuflect.
Worse, in the case of Trinidad and Tobago, the People's Partnership Government of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar could well be pushed into either sacking its Attorney General (Anand Ramlogan), or call a snap general election—which, constitutionally, is still far away in May 2015.
The circumstances for ministerial resignations being demanded are quite different. Here, in T&T the demand by the Opposition People's National Movement (PNM) for the dismissal of Attorney General Ramlogan is linked to the same issue that resulted in last week's firing from the Cabinet of Justice Minister Herbert Volney, a former High Court Judge
That development was rooted in the Government's surprising haste to rush Parliament—where it controls a whopping 17-seat majority—into repealing an early proclamation of a controversial Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act amid allegations that it could prove helpful to two leading local financiers still engaged in court battles against fraud charges.
It is relevant to note that the legislation, including Section 34, was unanimously approved by Parliament last year with an understanding that there would be further consultations prior to its proclamation.
Prime Minister Persad- Bissessar and Opposition PNM Leader Dr Keith Rowley have since been moving on different political cylinders as public excitement widened.
More recently, for instance, as she was arranging to announce the dismissal of her Justice Minister, he was planning an anti-government march to Parliament Building with strident calls for ministerial dismissals and even resignation of the People's Partnership coalition Government in general.
As Rowley was preparing for a mass PNM rally today to increase resignations pressure on the Government, the Prime Minister and her United National Congress (which dominates the People's Partnership administration) were busily engaged in plans for a pre-national budget presentation with a popular rally of their own.
Hence, the unfolding political dramas with the Government now declaring "time to move on"—following the dismissal of Volney—and the PNM's Rowley all fired up for the sacking of Attorney General Ramlogan with threats of pressures for a snap general election.
However, angry as he may be, Rowley is far too experienced a politician to seriously believe that Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar is likely to yield to such an ultimatum.
For his part, Attorney General Ramlogan, who is said to have been absent from the country when Volney submitted his advice to Cabinet on Section 34 of the Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act, is now hitting back Rowley with his reported claim that the PNM leader was in effect engaged in fighting a personal battle involving forthcoming court cases of much national interest.
Meanwhile, across in Guyana, the combined Opposition parties (A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change) which have a one-seat majority in the 65-member Parliament—continue to demand the dismissal of Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee based on allegations that he had instructed the use of force by the police during the recent political crisis in the bauxite town of Linden where three demonstrators were killed in clashes with the cops.
But Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell, in giving evidence before a distinguished five-member Commission of Enquiry, dealing with the shooting deaths and other issues related to the "Linden Crisis", made clear that he had NO knowledge of any such instruction emanating from the Home Affairs Minister.
The claims, made prior to the start of the enquiry, have emerged from lawyers who are also leading members of the Parliamentary Opposition parties. The President of Guyana, Donald Ramotar, went on record early as declaring that from all credible information at his disposal, he had NO reasons to contemplate dismissing the Home Affairs Minister.