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Transparency Institute: Rowley suspension lacked ‘fairness and legitimacy’

The following is a press release by the Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute in response to the Government’s suspension of Opposition Leader and Diego Martin West MP, Dr Keith Rowley:

On Wednesday 6 May 2015, The House of Representatives approved a motion to suspend the Leader of the Opposition for the remainder of the Parliamentary session. This action is of grave concern to the Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (Transparency).

Photo: Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.
Photo: Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.

The practice has always been for the Speaker to refer disciplinary matters which may result in suspension to the Committee of Privileges. This allows for due process in two respects.

It permits matters to be further investigated by the Committee so that the substance of the complaint can be properly delineated. Secondly, it affords natural justice to the parties affected as they are able to defend themselves before the Committee.

By directly suspending the Leader of the Opposition, the Speaker and the House effectively bypassed the Committee of Privileges depriving the process of all fairness and legitimacy. This means that the Leader of the Opposition was denied the opportunity of further investigation, legal representation and any minimum standard of due process.

This is crucial in a case in which there are pending investigations outside of Parliament, relating to the same subject matter, which are as yet unresolved.

It is axiomatic that any action by the House in purported discipline of its members must conform to minimum standards of constitutional due process. The actions of the House and Speaker in this matter appear to be in conflict with the rule of law.  This conduct falls well below acceptable standards of Parliamentary conduct.

Photo: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (left) and Leader of Government Business Roodal Moonilal. (Courtesy Baltimore Post)
Photo: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (left) and Leader of Government Business Roodal Moonilal.
(Courtesy Baltimore Post)

Any finding of misconduct on the part of a member of the House can only properly be made after a transparent and fair process. At minimum this requires the leading of evidence, the opportunity for cross examination, and to put forward a defense.

The sanction of suspension affects not only the Member in question but all the now unrepresented members of his constituency.

There are approximately six weeks left before Parliament is prorogued. Transparency calls on the Speaker of the House in particular and Members of Parliament to observe the accepted rules of the Parliamentary process and thereby safeguard the Parliament and our democracy from actions which may threaten both.

AboutTransparency International

Transparency International
Our Mission is to stop corruption and promote transparency, accountability and integrity at all levels and across all sectors of society. Our Core Values are: transparency, accountability, integrity, solidarity, courage, justice and democracy.

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77 comments

  1. No problem if a MP can bring a bogus emails to your parliament sacred as it ought to be that honorable house, with the intention to bring down an elected government, you guys have no issues there, is it because of race. i am no fan of any administration in TnT and happy that i no longer reside in TnT but you folks need to understand that there are real issues that need to be addressed.

  2. I no longer live in TnT and certainty no fan of the PP administration but a person can bring too your Parliament bogus emails with the intention to bring a democratic elected government down and you guys have no issues, because of race, unbelievable, I am happy I no longer live among retards

  3. they must read the standing order before they make uninformed statements

  4. This reeks of interference. Why the delay. Nobody doing their job but everybody want more money.

  5. They could sell house for 5 cent we will buy it and still vote them out.

  6. Lacks fairness my ass when panday was suspended for using a laptop he was suspended for a yr and when he returned to d parliament he was suspended again where was the fairness then

  7. Why would the president sully his office in Rowley’s foolishness. The president knew it was rubbish from the time he saw what Rowley had brought before him that’s why he was never bothered with it. Pnmites you continue to defend a person who calls himself a man but runs when challenged what type of leader are you all set up yourselves to lead you. If he can boldly accuse some in such high office then you all are like sitting ducks waiting to be plucked but this has been the legacy of the PNM and their supporter because as Sparrow said,”we like it so.” https://youtu.be/VZFOlInYmqs

    • He didnt run he ignored her cyat. Huge difference. No time to waste none of us getting any younger.

    • @Kristy Kris Au you continue to believe that after you vote to put him into office he will ignore your kyat too just like he ignored the market vendors just like he ignored the same Guave Road farmer when he told them to get out because he wanted to build housings units their thats right the same farmers he now marching for today the same ones he told the only consultation they are going to get is at election time ,just like he ignored residents of Port of Spain when he was about to demolish their homes until the courts stepped in and finally just like he ignored his own constituency for 24yrs. But before you go listen to this https://youtu.be/Ooyo9dqOZ0M

    • Let me deal with this once and for all you all are so wicked and deceitful and such hypocrites this video is so wicked no one will believe what is on that because someone like myself was there for most of those speeches

    • And just like the cyat and dog comment is exactly what they did with this vedeo clip … The statement went like this if kamla think this election will be about Rowley and demonizing me Shea wrong this will be fought on the basis of her starwdship so she could drink this she could drink that, she could jump high she could jump low she could bark at may dog I go ignore she chat and that is the truth

    • @Ted Browne you can’t catch me with that foolishness leave that for the gullible go and get the original tape of the meeting in Brazil not the one that has already been doctored but the original and listen to the precursor to his stupid comment. Maybe you slept through all the crap and lies that he constantly vomits to his audience.

  8. I could give you 28,000 reasons why the president is silent!!

  9. I done trying to reason with PP supporters yes. Anybody who could defend Kamla through all this is not using logic. I will talk with my voting finger. Best thing now is to let bullies feel they’ve won but keep an eye on them because they obviously feel we stupid and anything goes.

  10. PPPC in guyana lost elections earlier this week, after 23years. I wonder if the PP thinks they will survive the next election?

  11. Transparency i’ntl is not too transparent as u think

  12. Less in all this brouhaha we forget Anil and the millions stolen in lifesports
    whaaaaaat! !!!

  13. Oh dear PM, you’ve been served…

  14. TITT needs to make the next logical statement…Dissolve parliament and call the Elections…..the Gov’t has self-destruct !
    That may seem to political for them…if so…why talk at all, guys ??

  15. Don’t worry they will be out after election can’t wait to vote them out

  16. Greed…like when a man take state housing AND a housing allowance? That simple or uncommon?

  17. Greed that uncommon could be considered endangered.

  18. Vernal, “simple greed” may not explain it, but “uncommon greed” might, eh.

  19. Maybe TI is not fair. Accused a sitting PM of attempted murder and just run without defending his allegations….. Cowardice.

  20. Have it ever occurred to you all…it’s only countries whose head of goverment acts like that, are rule by higher forces,which… makes her a puppet…. of greed;would’nt you say.

  21. I don’t know when we can…understand the pp party are cubs of the fox( panday)…now, F is the 6 letter of the alphabet,O is the 15=6,and X is the 24 th,which also equal 6. Now I wonder, when 3 quarter of the people of trinidad and tobago would help save our Country from those Cubs of the fox. blessed.

  22. How do you see eye to eye with a rattle snake ?

  23. I keeping asking , where is superman.D powers that u feel he has .Way he dey????????.

  24. because 9 out of 10 times they are simple as that

  25. I am God is alive we playing hop scotch

  26. Party animals’ credo: you don’t leave the fete while there are still drinks in the bar.

  27. My question is, to what end?
    There had to be a reason they are clinging so desperately to power, and simple greed does not explain it.

    My theory is that this administration has buried so many bodies that it’s impossible to remember where they all are, so a future administration is bound to stumble upon some.

  28. They will do anything but challenge their own reality.

  29. They will now question the Transparency Institute’s credibility.

  30. The OPP> making no sense in the house so they give them VESP .

  31. Why is our President so silent?

  32. everyone has a voice now my god whjen will these PNMmites stop

  33. I WILL NOT FEAR though the ???should change though its waters for all THE picture is familiar to all

  34. A MP wants to raise something before Parliament and he goes through the procedure necessary to do so.
    I have no idea what you are referring to in terms of fairness and legitimacy.
    If a MP is felt to have abused his right to speak to the Parliament, there is a procedure for that.
    How can the TI condemn or applaud Rowley when no one knows yet whether his emails are true or false?

  35. No TI is not to decide who is right or wrong, my question was did TI also provided an opinion when the emails was submitted in Parliament was the process of all fairness and legitimacy also considered. Note their opinion is that the due process of all fairness and legitimacy was not employed so I am sure they also did look at the point in time when the emails was submitted to Parliament to also establish if in their opinion the same process of all fairness and legitimacy was employed.

  36. Transparency local and international can call for fair investigation all they want; what will happen WILL happen

  37. Nina you want TI to say whether Rowley was right or wrong to take the emails to Parliament?

  38. Yet the PM states that it was legal

  39. Can’t wait to hear the results of this. “Tick Toc Kamla.”

  40. Did TI also supplied an opinion on the submission of the emails in parliament was fairness and legitimacy considered as a key factor by the provider. Maybe I missed their opinion so if anyone have a link to their opinion on same please publish so we can see a balance opinion on this issue which had a beginning.

  41. Their only interest is in protecting their own interests and the interests of those who finance them. F@$% the people, F@$% the people, F@$% the people!