Scene: Trinidad and Tobago Parliament.
(Colm Imbert, MP for Diego Martin North/East, is on his feet).
Colm Imbert: “Deputy Madame Speaker, we have convened here today in an emergency sitting of this house, to discuss amendments to this bill, which has been outrageously and unscrupulously passed by the government in secret, in an attempt to slip it by without drawing the people’s attention to the consequences of their actions.”
(Loud shouts of dispute from government benches)
“Deputy Madame Speaker, this bill, this bill, was never approved by the opposition. I have it on Hansard. Yes, D’Abadie/Arima, you can deny it, but had you taken the time to read Hansard, you would know that what I say is true.
“In fact I will read to you from the record to remind you of what was said. Yes, St Joseph, we did agree to the initial proposal, but that is not my point. The amendment was never agreed by us and therefore, this bill cannot be accepted.”
(More outbursts of disagreement from the government benches)
“Deputy Madame Speaker, I will quote from Hansard as follows: The member for Chaguanas West proposed that we hold a 50th Anniversary of Independence at the Centre of Excellence in Macoya so that, and I quote Chaguanas West, ‘all members of parliament may celebrate the democratic achievements of our nation without favour of political party’ end quote. It was further proposed that a menu be circulated for extensive consultation, and I have the originally drafted menu here in my hand.
“Deputy Madame Speaker, there was considerable debate over the contents of this menu. A first draft was amended and returned to the house for further debate. After the agreed amendments, the menu was passed to the Other Place for approval. Deputy Madame Speaker, the Senate approved the menu with two amendments and it again returned to the house for debate.
“Item 34 referred to goat roti. The member for Diego Martin West opposed this item and argued that it be amended to goat buss up shut. After several hours of debate, it was voted and agreed unanimously that item 34 be goat buss up shut, not so?
“Ah, yes, I see the other side are regaining their memories, ent?”
(Inaudible mumbles from the Government benches)
“Deputy Madame Speaker, the second item for debate was item 34 which referred to the time the event should begin. I put forward the case that it should commence at 7 am. The Honourable Prime Minister, however, argued that it should commence at 10 am because it would be easier for her to obtain a flight plan for her helicopter.
“In fact, Deputy Madame Speaker, I quote the Prime Minister: ‘It would be impossible for Air Force 1 to obtain the necessary permissions to drop me off at 7 am.’
“Deputy Madame Speaker, in spirit of cross party collaboration, I agreed to the amendment stating ‘Guests should arrive at 9.45 am for a 10 am start.’ This is all on record.
“Deputy Madame Speaker, the member for St Joseph then took the menu back to the Senate for approval at midnight. Upon reading the menu, St Joseph made two further amendments that called for item 34 to be changed to ‘goat buss up shut or in the instance that this is not available, goat roti.’
“Deputy Madame Speaker, the senate added a caveat to this amendment which stated that roti would only be served, and I quote, ‘Once it has been independently confirmed that buss up shut is not available within 25 kilometres of the venue.’ Note that, eh? Twenty-five km of the venue.”
(More shouts from the government benches)
“Yes, yes, Deputy Madame Speaker, they can shout all they want. They want us to pass this bill, which clearly states ‘goat roti, 148 portions at $40 each.’ This was not approved, Deputy Madame Speaker.
“They want us to believe that buss up shut wasn’t available within 25 km of Macoya? And look who supplied the roti – Persad-Bissessor’s Roti Shop, Siparia. A coincidence? I think not. Deputy Madame Speaker, the roti arrived in the Prime Minister’s helicopter!”
(Loud shouts from the government benches)
“Conspiracy? Yes we believe there was a conspiracy. And the Attorney General’s statement to the Express today just adds to the mischief they are causing. I quote: ‘The Prime Minister, while on her way to the event in Macoya in her private government vehicle, happened to hover over the Grand Bazaar junction where she saw a broken down vehicle. Ordering the pilot to land the chopper so that she may assist a stricken motorist, she came upon the caterer for the party to which she was travelling. Being a person of considerable helpfulness, the Prime Minister offered to transport the caterer, coincidently named Mrs Persad-Bissessor, and her food to the venue.’
(More outburst from the government benches)
“Deputy Madame Speaker, we’ll let the people decide who is telling the truth. But judging by the high level of anger that I have witnessed today, I’m telling you that you cannot lie to the people and get away with it. They will not forget!”
(Desk thumping from the Opposition benches)
“The second amendment, Deputy Madame Speaker, concerns item 34. After agreeing in this very house that the event would start at 10 am, lo and behold, we arrive at 10 and what do we see?
“The government arrived at 7 am and ate all of the goat roti! How could this happen? How could the government, without even obtaining approval from its own cabinet, arbitrarily change the start time? Nobody consulted with the DPP. He only heard about it via BBM just before he reached the venue at 10.”
(Outburst from Chaguanas West)
“Yes, Chaguanas West, you can claim that you didn’t change the time to try to fool us. You can claim that you tried to inform us of the change by sending a carrier pigeon to Balsier House. But the fact remains, that contrary to the proposal that was passed in both houses, you did, indeed, without any consultation, change the time.
“Deputy Madame Speaker, it’s no wonder that the people no longer trust this government. Myself and my colleagues had to stop for some Chinese food on the way home and, even worse, we hit a pothole by the Beetham and the food flew all over us.”
Anil Roberts: “So you had egg on your face? Ha ha ha ha!”
Jack Warner: “Just be grateful that all the PNM MPs could fit into one maxi taxi! Ha ha ha!”
Imbert: “Deputy Madame Speaker, the government may laugh, but there is no way that we will vote in favour of this bill for $116,395.”
Herbert Volney: “We don’t care, the bill’s already been paid by a supporter.”
Imbert: “Can we be advised as to who was so generous?”
Volney: “It was anonymous. But there was a card that said: Hope you were peck-ISH.”
Editor’s Note: This column is pure satire and all conversations are faked; no offence is meant at parties named although they probably deserve it.