Attorney Larry Lalla is hoping that the Opposition’s motion for the removal of the President will shed some light on the Police Service Commission (PSC) debacle.
Speaking on Aakash Vani 106 FM’s Morning Panchayat, Lalla said this was a serious constitutional issue that transcends political affiliations.
“We as a people we have to be mature and we have to understand that there are certain issues that transcend the yellow and red,” he said.
However, former UNC minister Surujrattan Rambachan questioned whether the motion would be heard in Parliament.
Noting that former House Speaker Barry Sinanan has said that the
Speaker has the sole discretion on whether the motion goes forward, he said, “The Speaker has been very bold in terms of when matters come to her and matters of urgent public importance. I remember the classic case which I still think should have been debated then, on COVID, way back in January 2019 brought back Dr Goopeesingh and she did not think it was important and look what has happened with that pandemic had we debated that and put certain things in place we may have had a different outcome or at least been more prepared for what we are facing now. And I cannot predict what the Speaker will do. But, is it possible that the Speaker will use the statement published by the President to say this debate will not be of any consequence because the president has already explained?”
Lalla, however, said while the President breaking her silence is welcomed it does not assist her.
“Because there is one very serious and important part of that statement where the President stated that after the merit list of candidates for the post of Commissioner of Police was submitted to her it was withdrawn and I don’t know how that could take place,” Lalla explained.
Citing Section 123 of the Constitution that speaks to the selection of the police commissioner, he said the PSC has to submit a list of nominees to the President and the President shall issue a notification of the list to the Parliament, and the President does not a discretion.
He added, “Her allowing the withdrawal of the list raises many, questions for which they aren’t any answers right now.”
Lalla said that a reasonable inference could be drawn that the officeholders have been acting and acted at the behest of the Prime Minister and if that is the case then that should mean very serious consequences for all involved including the Prime Minister, the President and the former PSC chairman.
Concerned that people were treating this issue frivolously, Rambachan said a lot of people are fearful of the authorities.
Pointing to the issue in Barrackpore where the police seized video footage from residents to build a case against protesters, Rambachan said, “There is a sense of fear that people have, listen I could be persecuted, I could be beaten up people and in a large way this society has returned to where people don’t want to speak their minds and they are looking at the politicians like Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Jayanti to speak on their behalf.”
Rambachan said people seemed more concerned with food, clothes, shelter and their children’s education than constitutional matters.
“Look 300,000 people insulted over the weekend by the Prime Minister, being called names. How many people care about being insulted? We just take the insults, we take the disrespect. Where are the voices for example of the party groups in the UNC, of the institutions in the UNC?” he questioned.
Rambachan said it is very distressing because society is going down a slippery slope very fast in terms of ideals and morality but people are not speaking out.