Pennelope bids goodbye, thanks Rowley, Opposition colleagues

By Anna Ramdass

Opposition Senator Pennelope Beckles-Robinson yesterday bid goodbye to the Senate, thanking Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley for giving her the opportunity to serve, and assuring she would continue to represent her people and party.

The senatorial appointments of Beckles-Robinson and Fitzgerald Hinds were revoked by Rowley and three new senators will occupy the Opposition Senate benches—Camille Robinson Regis, Avinash Singh and Diane Baldeo-Chadeesingh.

Beckles expressed her gratitude to all members of the Upper House as well as the staff of the Parliament as she spoke in commemoration of International Day of People with Disabilities.

“At the end of the day, Mr President, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Senate. I want to thank of course the political leader and Leader of the Opposition Dr Keith Rowley for having appointed me and giving me the opportunity to serve in this very distinguished position as Leader of Opposite Business in the Senate,” said Beckles-Robinson.

“I am quite satisfied that I’ve done my best and I will continue to do my best in the interest of my party, the People’s National Movement, and the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” she added.

Beckles-Robinson’s comments were met with loud bench-thumping of support from her senatorial colleagues on all benches. She told Senate President Timothy Hamel-Smith she was not likely to speak on the next motion of the House, and asked that he allow her to express her thanks to members of the Upper House, including himself.

Beckles-Robinson said she was no stranger to the Senate, having served before from 1995 to 1998. She praised Hamel-Smith for the manner in which he presided over the House, keeping the proceedings tight and allowing members the flexibility to talk freely. “I think a lot of us have been able to not just to develop our skills, but to understand the approach that you have taken that has allowed the Senate to continue to have the reputation as one of the best places for young politicians in particular to develop,” she said.

Beckles-Robinson thanked her Government colleagues, in particular Leader of Government Business Ganga Singh, whom she said she had a good relation with in terms of discussing matters pertaining to the Senate’s work in the interest of the people of this country.

She went on to thank senators on the Independent benches, saying they bring to bear a totally different approach by standing their ground and speaking their minds.

Beckles-Robinson also thanked members of the Opposition bench and the Parliament staff. In her contribution, she stressed more needed to be done in the interest of the disabled people of this country.

She noted a PNM councillor—Kyron James—was a person with a disability and the people of Mayaro embraced and elected him to serve them.

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