Opposition Chief Whip, Dr David Lee MP, Member of Parliament for Pointe-a-Pierre. (Image courtesy Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago)

Opposition Chief Whip, Dr David Lee, says the Opposition was justified in its walkout from Parliament, this week, and warns that the Government is guilty of undermining the Parliamentary democracy in this country.

In a strongly worded statement issued today, the Opposition Chief Whip points out that the Standing Orders were disregarded by the Government, and they remain in the wrong, despite attempts by the Prime Minister to convince the population otherwise.

“It is no surprise that they are still unable to highlight a single standing order that permits such action or instances when such action has ever been undertaken,” Dr Lee says in the release.

The following is the full text of the statement issued by the Opposition Chief Whip…

Opposition Chief Whip: “We will not condone the actions of the government who clearly intend to transform our Parliament from a place of regulated debate into a Baliser House Platform”

The display of the Government in the last few days as they continue to mislead the nation on their actions within the Parliament that violated our democratic parliamentary principles has been nothing short of deceitful as well as unbecoming of high office holders.

Opposition Members of Parliament led by the Leader of the Opposition were justified to walk out and absent ourselves from the recent Parliamentary sittings as the Government showed total disdain, disregard and disrespect for the Standing orders or rules which govern the procedures of our Parliament.

We could not condone the actions of the government who clearly intend to transform our Parliament from a place of regulated debate into a Baliser House Platform.

The government’s continued rants that it was legitimate to increase the speaking time of the Prime Minister by one hour are not only disingenuous but totally false.

It is no surprise that they are still unable to highlight a single standing order that permits such action or instances when such action has ever been undertaken.

It was rather erroneous that the only example the Prime Minister could put forward was the procedure of the US Congress when our nation operates within a Westminster Parliamentary model. This was just a clear attempt to mask their hijacking of the debate as their actions had no plausible rationale but only aimed at eroding the procedures of our Parliament. 

One must now ask, is the Prime Minister suggesting that Members of Parliament can now speak for any amount of time despite the Standing Orders setting out the maximum limits?

These actions have brought our entire Parliament into disrepute as what the Government has basically signalled to us is that they will be a law unto their own selves within the Parliament.  These actions indicate that no longer will the government abide by the rules which were implemented to ensure democracy, equal representation and respect for the constitution but by their own self-serving agenda.

We in the Opposition will stand up against this.

David Lee
Opposition Chief Whip
Member of Parliament for Pointe a Pierre