Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Jack: Govt can’t be trusted

The People’s Partnership Government cannot be trusted and the right of recall amendment is a ploy to fool the people says Independent Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner.

Warner, chairman of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP), in his contribution on the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2014 yesterday said the right of recall amendment was nothing but a “toothless tiger”.

Warner presented two examples to show that the methodology to effect recall did not make sense.

He said in the case of the St Augustine constituency seat, in 2010, a total of 25,582 people were registered to vote.

Warner said the total number of votes cast was 19,284 and Prakash Ramadhar received 15,272 of that amount.

He said under the run-off provision, where 50 per cent plus is needed for victory, in order to win, Ramadhar would have needed 9642 votes.

However, he pointed out that to remove Ramadhar under the right of recall, a total of 17,054 was needed.

Under the right of recall provision, two thirds of the registered people in the constituency must cast their vote to remove the MP.

“It is easier to get him in but almost impossible to get him out and therefore this is a farce, it’s to give people the illusion that of a recall and to say we bought the right to recall, this is trickery and deceit at its worst,” said Warner.

He then used the Siparia constituency as another example.

Warner said in 2010 a total of 26,657 people were registered to vote in Siparia and some 19,825 votes were cast.

He said of that amount, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar received 15,650 votes and under the new system proposed — she would have needed 9,913 (more than 50 per cent) votes to win.

Warner said under the recall provision, two thirds of the electorate need to cast their votes to remove the MP which would mean that some 17,771 were needed to effect this. He added that the right of recall proposed can only be done in the third year after being elected — 60 per cent of the term served. Warner disclosed further that Cabinet members were not aware of the run-off voting proposal.

“I called two members, two members of the other side, my friends in a way and I asked them did you really vote for that? One of course said no and the other one said he did not know,” said Warner adding that he urged them to sit and think about the attempt to subsume a party into a monolithic UNC body.

He said the courts should give an interpretation of the proposed amendments before they are even passed.

Warner, who cut ties with the Government last year and formed the ILP spoke of how he trusted the Prime Minister and the betrayal he faced from his former colleagues who launched a vicious campaign against him in the Chaguanas West by-election.

“At one point in time I used to be a heart beat away from the Prime Minister and I trusted her then, and I could not understand why is it the member for Port of Spain South used to keep saying continuously I do not trust you all...gradually it became clear to me,” said Warner.

“Mr Speaker I say here today, if anybody knows why this Government shouldn’t be trusted, I do and I make this point clear today this is a Government that cannot be trusted,” he added.

He questioned why the UNC has not called internal elections in their own party.

He also knocked Ramadhar’s praise of the Prime Minister who said her members can vote on the Bill by conscience and not collective responsibility.

“That was not a gift, that was a concession, the Prime Minister had to concede following a meting of the COP last night,” he said.

“All over the land, rumours are being made that there would be no vote today, so what’s the concession then?” he added.