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Heat expected inside, outside of Parliament

By Ria Taitt Political Editor

Crowds are expected to descend on the Waterfront, outside Tower D, which houses the Parliament. 

As the House of Representatives meets at 1.30 today, there is likely to be heat inside and outside of the chamber. (See Page 16)

For several weeks now, there has been a growing number of protestors. But their numbers perceivably are to reach a high point today as constituents of Caroni Central MP Glenn Ramadharsingh are expected to come out in a show of support and solidarity for their beleaguered MP.

Ramadharsingh  dismissed from the Cabinet on Tuesday night, following allegations of disorderly behaviour on a Caribbean Airlines flight.

Personal advisor to Ramadharsingh, Barrington ‘Skippy’ Thomas said the constituency met yesterday and the consensus was that Ramadharsingh was unfairly treated. 

“It is our clear position that had there been a thorough investigation, Dr Ramadharsingh would have been vindicated totally and the Prime Minister would not have had to make the decision she had. Thomas said the constituents had to protect Caroni Central “from the cabal” which had their eyes set on the Caroni Central seat, because they considered to be a safe seat. He claimed that this was why Ramadharsingh was fired. 

“If they think it is going to be a walk in the park, we have news for them that it would be a long hot summer. There is no proper platform like the court of public opinion,” he said. “We expect a very large turnout today” he said. 

He said the Prime Minister accepting responsibility for the ministry was “some consolation of sorts”. 

Meanwhile Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley has called on supporters of the PNM to come outside the Parliament to demonstrate to the Government that they are not prepared to accept corruption. 

Rowley is piloting a private motion asking Government to stop the $1 billion award of the Beetham Waste Treatment Plant to a Super Industrial Services-led consortium. 

Speaking at a public meeting in Arouca, he said: “I would be explaining to you (today in Parliament)  the last outrage of robbery at the Treasury of Trinidad and Tobago. And I want just enough people to come there to make a ring around the Parliament symbolically to tell this Government, ‘we know you, we accustom to you, we know what you are doing and we are not defenceless’. This Friday, enough of you come down there, we don’t have alot of space because the road is right in front of the Parliament. It is not like the Red House where we had Woodford Square. But I want a few hundred of you there in your red shirts,” he said.

The motion which is calling on Government to stop the $1 billion contract for the Beetham Waste Water Treatment to a Super Industrial Services-led consortium states: “Be it resolved that the House take note of these developments and call upon the Prime Minister to immediately stop this award and review the overall circumstances to ensure that the public interest is protected and state resources are not stolen or wasted in the arrangement  between WASA and NGC with respect to this water supply project.

Apart  from these two groups, the OWTU has been protesting outside the Parliament for the past few months. 

The union has been calling for an independent inquiry into the oil spill and last week it raised concerns about the possible privisation of Lake Asphalt to Chinese interests, a claim which Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine has denied.

The contractors under URP, Agriculture have also been protesting the non-payment of monies owned to them for contracts completed between May and August last week. Last week the Communication Workers Union joined the demonstration, as they protested the firing of 60 Hilton workers. 

Also last week Environmentalist Wayne Kubalsingh took his protest over the Point Fortin Highway outside of Tower D. And of course. Fixin T&T, which was the first group to begin a peaceful protest on a weekly basis outside of the Parliament, is expected to be at Tower D today. 

Senior Ministers are generally booed as they make their way into the building, while Opposition MPs are spoken to about the grievances which the protestor have.

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