Opposition Leader questions lack of further Parliamentary sittings; alleges PM ducking questions

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 20:00

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is questioning the lack of further Parliamentary sittings for this month, saying it appears as though the Prime Minister is attempting to avoid answering questions.

The Opposition Leader says she has a number of questions for Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to answer. 

The following is the Opposition Leader's full statement.

"It is a matter of deep concern to me, members of the Opposition Parliamentary Caucus and citizens of Trinidad and Tobago that the House of Representatives has no more sittings carded for the month of November.

There was only one sitting of Friday 13th November, 2015.

By avoiding any further sittings for the month of November, the Government is attempting to avoid Prime Minister’s Questions, which must be done at the second sitting of the House in each month according to Standing Order 26 of the new Standing Orders of the House of Representatives.

This shows clearly that the Prime Minister does not wish to have to answer anything this month from parliamentarians, including the Leader of the Opposition.

It has been publicly stated that he is travelling to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta over the period 27th – 29th November, 2015.

 So as a responsible leader he should have allowed a sitting before he travels so MPs can seek answers about legitimate questions they have on behalf of citizens.

This is a new, disturbing trend and comes on the heels of a decision by the cabinet that only one minister would present government’s answers to the media. 

Is this the PNM Government’s way of shutting down the House of Representatives so that there will only be one sitting per month thereby avoiding Prime Minister’s Questions altogether? His actions in avoiding questions amounts to censorship of the worst kind.

As the MP for Siparia and the Leader of the Opposition I have many questions for which I need answers from Dr. Rowley and the government.

Since I am unable to question the Prime Minister directly in Parliament, I am seeking answers to these questions:

Why is Dr. Rowley attending a PNM event in London on December 1st to raise funds to renovate Balisier House while he is on official state business paid for by the taxpayers of Trinidad and Tobago?

What deals will he make at the dinner?

Who will benefit?

Will those who donate more to the Balisier House project get more control?

I urge Prime Minister Rowley to answer these questions before he leaves for Malta.

His failure to act responsibly and stop his style of governance would send a message that his government has already lost its way and is seeking to hide behind a wall of secrecy instead of conducting its affairs with transparency and accountability to citizens."