Thursday, February 22, 2018

Vote of no confidence in Lopinot/Bon Air West MP


dismissed vote: Lopinot/Bon Air West MP Lincoln Douglas leaves the Parliament chamber following yesterday's sitting of the Lower House at Tower D, Port of Spain International Waterfront. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

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Several constituents of Lopinot /Bon Air West are calling on their Member of Parliament, Dr Lincoln Douglas, to go.

This has occurred days after San Fernando Mayor Marlene Coudray's sudden public defection from the Congress of the People (COP) to the United National Congress (UNC).

Douglas won the Lopinot/Bon Air West seat in the 2010 general election on a COP ticket.

Chairman of the COP's Lopinot/Bon Air West executive committee, Rawle Raphael, said the committee has moved a vote of no confidence in Douglas, who is also a Minister in the Ministry of the People and Social Development.

Raphael yesterday told the Express Douglas has failed in his representation of his constituents and they are calling on the Government to take to Parliament, legislation which allows for parliamentary representatives to be recalled for nonperformance.

He said this was one of the promises of the People's Partnership contained in the Fyzabad Accord.

"All the constituents, when they go to him for assistance, all he says is that he has no power," Raphael said.

"The constituents of Lopinot/Bon Air West are not being represented in any form despite the fact that we are part of the People's Partnership Government. This is what people are saying and this is widespread.

"In the first instance, it was a wrong choice they made in that he lives in St Joseph and, taking somebody to operate in Lopinot/Bon Air West, that person would not have the passion for the people."

Raphael said people have been seeking assistance from Douglas to get jobs, repairs to roads and drains and pensions.

"We have attempted to meet with him many times. Sometimes he attends, other times he does not. When we had the elections for officers, he brought a team and his team was defeated. I don't know whether that is where it all started. We had a meeting at the Five Rivers Community Centre about three months ago with about 300 people in attendance and, when he arrived, he was booed."

A general meeting of the constituents has been scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday March 28 at the Five Rivers Community Centre, to debate the issue.

Douglas laughed yesterday when told by the Express a no-confidence motion had been moved against him by the committee led by Raphael.

Speaking at the Parliamentary Chamber at Tower D, in Port of Spain, Douglas described Raphael as "a joke".

He said there has been an ongoing rift since the general elections of 2010.

"Since the elections, Rawle Raphael felt he should have been the Member of Parliament and I have volunteered to resign and let him run the constituency," Douglas said.

"First of all, I would ask Rawle Raphael when last he has come to a meeting of the national council of the Congress of the People. Ask Rawle Raphael when last any of the members of his executive has come to the national council of the Congress of the People.

"Ask Rawle Raphael if they have done anything in the constituency of Lopinot/Bon Air West ... any programme whatsoever. Ask him if they ever registered a member to the Congress of the People in Lopinot/Bon Air West. Rawle Raphael is a joke."

Douglas said his work in the constituency speaks for itself.

"I will show them from Arima that we just finished building a community centre in Sherwood Park. We built a retaining wall for $15 million behind the abattoir; we've repaired the Mausica River; we have been meeting with all the farmers in Garden Village in Lopinot with the view to opening a farmer's market; we've been repairing roads all up in Surrey Village; we have an after-school centre; we've launched our Education Foundation and we are funding over 20 families to support their children in school.

"I have tried on many occasions to invite Rawle Raphael to a meeting. I walk about the constituency every Saturday. I have been in almost every part of that constituency while walking—Bon Air West, Tacarigua, Kandahar, Sherwood Park, Garden Village and Beckles Lane. Rawle Raphael has ever showed up?

"What has he done in the constituency and what has he done for the COP?" he asked.