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Opposition senator Damian Lyder on his way to yesterday’s Senate sitting.

Opposition senator Damian Lyder denounced the curtailment of speaking time for senators which was implemented from the start of the pandemic.

He was contributing to the debate on an Opposition motion on the curtailment. Lyder noted other countries including the United Kingdom did not cut their Members’ speaking time. He said it was a move by Government to reduce Opposition senators’ efforts.

Lyder said if speaking time had to be cut to ensure members weren’t in the Parliament for long periods – to prevent COVID – he questioned how lengthy debates could have taken place recently for the Anti Gang bill.

“If we can’t say what we have to inside the Parliament, we’ll do so outside.”

Lyder took issue with Government Senator Dr Amery Browne’s input on the matter, saying he wished Browne luck since he said he heard Browne was being tipped to become the next People’s National Movement’s (PNM) leader.

Independent senator Maria Dillon-Remy didn’t see the situation as Government denying speaking time as part of a sinister agenda to “shut up” senators.

She said Trinidad and Tobago was not out of the pandemic and it’s not business as usual since there are third waves of COVID-19 in many countries. Dillon-Remy said countries like Germany, Italy and France for instance were back to lockdowns.

She said if the situation got better she expected speaking time would return to normal, but if it got worse, this might have to be adjusted again.