OPPOSITION Leader Dr Keith Rowley yesterday led a march to President's House as he hand-delivered a petition, with more than 25,000 signatures, calling for President George Maxwell Richards to demand a written explanation from Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar as to why the controversial Section 34 was prematurely selected to become law.
Persad-Bissessar remained silent during the emergency Parliament session last Wednesday to repeal the controversial section and, to date, has not spoken on the issue.
The petition listed a timeline beginning with November 8, 2011, when Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh quashed an attempt by the Attorney General to extradite "two self-confessed financiers of the United National Congress".
After the nine-point timeline the petition called for it "now to be resolved", "that His Excellency the President raise as a matter of urgency with the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago as part of his constitutionally required consultations with the Prime Minister the outrage of the national community in this matter"... "That his Excellency demand an explanation from the Hon Prime Minister as to the reason/s for the decision of the Cabinet which acted in breach of the trust of the Parliament".
The petition also calls for the immediate revocation of the appointment of Anand Ramlogan as Attorney General and Herbert Volney as Justice Minister "so as to avoid further national distress and international opprobrium in this matter".
On Sunday, Rowley invited all churches, unions and the people of Trinidad and Tobago to march with him at 1 p.m., from the Red House to President's House, against the Government's actions with respect to Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act.
Thousands yesterday responded to Rowley's invitation.
Around 1.20 p.m. yesterday, Rowley arrived at Woodford Square.
A prayer was said and Rowley led the crowd in singing the National Anthem.
When the anthem ended, Rowley led the group north along Abercromby Street amid chants and drums.
Around 1.52 p.m., Rowley stopped outside the law firm of MG Daly and Partners to greet his wife, Sharon, an attorney.
The group proceeded west along Gordon Street and then north along Chacon Street before they reached the Queen's Park Savannah.
Around 2.49 p.m., Rowley reached President's House.
He grabbed a megaphone and attempted to address the crowd before he entered President's House, but the rain began to fall.
Around 3 p.m., Rowley and members of the hierarchy of the People's National Movement, accompanied by David Abdulah, political leader of the Movement for Social Justice, Vincent Cabrera representing the Joint Trade Union Movement and political analyst Dr Kirk Meighoo entered President's House with the petition.
President George Maxwell Richards is currently out of the country and Senate President Timothy Hamel-Smith is acting in Richards's absence.
Around 3.43 p.m., Rowley and the entourage exited President's House.
Speaking to the crowd after he exited President's House, Rowley said he had asked Hamel-Smith to follow the paper trail to determine how the "amnesty section" of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act reached the President for it to be proclaimed law.
"If it is the Cabinet cannot stand, all of them, and say, 'I knew about this, I was a part of this,' and it was done by a small cabal, then this means that the authority of the Cabinet would have been improperly used by persons to advise the President to bring into law against a commitment to the Parliament a clause of an act which caused this problem," Rowley said.
"And if that actually happened as we are picking up, it will have meant that a palace coup would have taken place in the Government," he said.
"I have asked the President to trace the document back to its origin, the document that asked him to sign the proclamation and make sure that at every stage in the proceeding, right down to the drafting of the Cabinet note, that the country's rules, regulations and laws were followed," Rowley said.
Rowley called on the President to address the nation after he completed the paper trail. He said yesterday's march was not the end, but only the beginning of the end for the Government.