The People's National Movement (PNM) motion of censure which was brought against Attorney General Anand Ramlogan was "resoundingly" defeated early yesterday morning.
The 15-hour marathon session, which began at 1.30 p.m. last Friday and ended at 5.03 a.m. yesterday, had 25 Members of Parliament voting against the motion and 11 members of the Opposition bench voting in its favour.
The Opposition brought the motion to have the Prime Minister sack Ramlogan over his role in the Section 34 fiasco. The Prime Minister's only disciplinary action over Section 34 has been the firing of former Justice Minister Herbert Volney for misleading her Cabinet.
Volney and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran did not vote in the censure motion.
Volney yesterday told the Sunday Express he left Parliament at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain, during the tea break last Friday and had hoped to return later in the night but did not make it back.
Dookeran said he left Parliament at 9 p.m.
In winding up the debate, National Security Minister Jack Warner surmised that no explanation offered by the Government for the Section 34 fiasco would satisfy the People's National Movement (PNM). In his view, the PNM had "no moral authority" to tell the Prime Minister how to govern and was "minding the mark" in the belief that it will get them into office at the next general election.
In defending Ramlogan, Warner charged that Rowley had signaled him out for "persecution" because of his ethnicity.
"It's because you have a problem with the individual," he said.
Warner questioned how come Rowley did not have "one" like him sitting on the PNM benches or going up for elections in the PNM convention which takes place today. (See Page 7.)
"They don't count. You are attacking the Attorney General because the AG represents the things you dislike," said Warner. His statement elicited cross talk in the Parliament chamber but Warner was not persuaded to stop.
He asked if Rowley had canvassed the opinions of people from Chaguanas or Barataria/San Juan on their views on Section 34.
Warner reminded Rowley that he and his members voted for the bill and that the PNM was bent on making "superficial statements" to support its conspiracy theories.
He charged that while the PNM may appear "self-righteous" and "sanctimonious", the public was "more intelligent than that".
Wading into the contribution made by Opposition MP Colm Imbert, Warner belittled his "Sherlock Holmes/Dick Tracy" explanation of the section 34 debacle. Warner said Imbert's statement that the Gazetted notice was not available online until September 10 was simply because that was the date and time it was uploaded onto the website.
This, he said, had nothing to do with the preparation of the notice but was the only time it was available for download from the website.
He said that the PNM with its "top class lawyers" had missed the fallout of the Section 34 clause.
"There is no basis for putting the blame on the AG for Section 34," said Warner.
He said the Cabinet note of August 6 contained representations from the former Justice Minister and not the AG.