Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley's request to recall Parliament immediately has been turned down.
Rowley wrote to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Monday requesting that the Parliament be reconvened immediately to discuss the move by National Security Minister Jack Warner last week to demolish the camp site of the re-route movement in Debe with the aid of soldiers and police.
However, Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives, Dr Roodal Moonilal, told the Express yesterday in a telephone interview that President George Maxwell Richards has already issued the summons to recall Parliament on July 11, for the Third Session of the Tenth Parliament.
"The Leader of the Opposition is aware of this, what he's asking for is to recall the Parliament sometime between Wednesday (today) to Tuesday next week. Dr Rowley would have in his possession a copy (of the President's summons), he's well aware of the various instruments which he may use to have a debate on any matter which he may deem important. There is no purpose now in seeking to recall this summons which has already been issued by the President," said Moonilal.
Moonilal said he was sure the Prime Minister would respond to Rowley's letter "in due course".
In Rowley's letter dated July 2, he noted that on June 26, at approximately 5 a.m. an armed contingent of police officers from the Guard and Emergency Branch and a contingent of troops of the Army of Trinidad and Tobago raided and destroyed the camp site of the re-route movement who are opposed to the Debe to Mon Desir segment of the Point Fortin highway.
He further noted that the law enforcement officers were accompanied by Warner "at all material times".
Commissioner of Police, Dwayne Gibbs, added Rowley, has publicly denied giving any order to police officers to raid the camp and the Chief of Defence Staff Kenrick Maharaj has made no comment as to the order under which his men acted.
"The import of this matter is clear deriving as it does from certain precedents in other less fortunate countries of the world, in particular countries formerly in the Commonwealth in Africa and certain countries in Latin America. As Leader of the Opposition I am satisfied that this is a matter that merits an early recall of the House of Representatives," stated Rowley in his letter.
The Parliament has been prorogued and a ceremonial opening has been fixed for July 11.
Rowley stated that the Standing Orders of both Houses were silent on the matter of the recall of the Parliament but provide that the Presiding Officers 'shall have power to regulate the conduct of business in all matters not provided for in the Standing Orders'. The Standing Orders also provide that 'any matter not provided for resort shall be had to the usage and practices of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which shall be followed so far as the same shall be applicable'.
He noted that in the House of Commons an early recall is permitted if 'in the national interest' the Speaker of the House of Commons is satisfied that such a recall is warranted.
"The Opposition is of the view that this is a matter where 'the national interest' requires such an early recall of the Parliament. As such I am to humbly request that you move to instruct the Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives to request of the Speaker that the House be reconvened immediately to discuss this matter," stated Rowley in his letter.