No member of the Cabinet has yet satisfied the public's concern about why they decided to pluck Section 34, along with 4 other minor clauses, out of the Indictable Offences Act and proclaim it on the evening of August 30th while most of the nation was busy with Independence celebrations. Of course now, it explains why the Government had a celebration on the Eve of Independence, as well as on the evening of Independence. And there was I simply thinking is because Kamla love to fete! Nope, all the fetes were weapons of mass distraction.
There was nothing particularly new about the style of debate yesterday in the house. It pretty much resembled last year's SOE justification and extension debate, and the Motion of No Confidence debate in March of this year. The Opposition asked the same questions in each of its presentations by Rowley, Imbert and McDonald: Why were the provisions agreed to by Senator Volney ignored, and parts of the Bill proclaimed; and why was that particular clause pulled out for proclamation when it was proclaimed in the manner it was proclaimed. After Moonilal, Ramlogan, Roberts, Warner, Volney and Ramlogan again, those questions are still to be answered. However they did all manage to agree on repealing the Law retroactively, after Imbert suggested changes. the Bill now moves on to the Upper House.
How It went Down:
Kamla arrived late, and took the opportunity to distract the Parliament with the announcement that the Budget would be on Monday October 1st. Then Parliament recessed for 15 minutes for Kamla to hold a quick strategy pow wow.
Then they returned and the bullshit began...
What we do know is that Anand Ramlogan was very concerned about Imbert wanting the Bill to first be 7 years instead of 10. We also know that Ramlogan thinks the PNM wanted it to be 7 years instead of 10 to assist Rowley, Calder Hart, Juliana Pena and Andre Monteil.....what the Attorney General conveniently forgot is that none of the names listed have criminal charges laid against them in a court of law....but Ish and Steve do....so the Indictable Offences Act in no way impacts them....and this is through the fault of the AG...he is yet to lift a finger to lay charges against Hart, Manning or Pena...in fact I think he must have spent the last 2.5 years in office attempting to free Ish and Steve, not attending to the business of government.
What we learned from Anil Roberts is that Rowley parks his car on pavements, and that in legalese "shall" is not mandatory....Roberts sounded a bit Partapped in Parliament yesterday, no lie.
From Jack Warner we got a history of criminal activity in Trinidad and Tobago and a list of the lawyers who have assisted with such criminal activity. We also had another threat thrown at the Mirror.....come with the $12m, Jack and then we will take your threats seriously...until then, focus on developing a Crime Plan, nah?
From Hubert "Free Brad Boyce" Volney, we learned that he created the Bill and inserted that Clause for poor people....a clause that requires the perpetrator to have enough money to extend a trial for 10 years....Volney is the fucking Simon Bolivar of St Joseph, oui!
What we also learned is that our silkened luminaries, after hustling to proclaim Section 34 on August 30th, realised that the Bill was flawed and hustled just as quickly to repeal it, all on their own....no public pressure from the Opposition and the US...they did this for us, the nation, because they always listening to us. Doh mind Kamla could never answer any of our questions directly.
We were treated to Minister after Minister praising the legal expertise of Kamla Rani....so much ass licking taking place that Hollywood Sachy would be forgiven for mistaking it as a Maximum Dun Out of the PM!
In all of this learning, the crucial questions weren't answered at all.
The UNC claimed to not know about the COP Press Release, and Prakash Ramadhar never spoke. So we, the people, have no idea how the Minister responsible for overseeing the Legislative Review Committee can claim, via his Chairman in a press release, that they never saw the Indictable Offences Act, specifically Section34 in the form it was eventually passed. According to Toney's release, Ramadhar saw Section 34 with a different wording before it was passed in the Lower House and went to the Senate. When the Bill got to the Senate, under Justice Volney's stewardship the wording changed. The Bill went from saying:
…. a Judge shall discharge an accused if the proceedings were instituted prior to the coming into force of this Act and the trial has not commenced within ten years after the proceedings were instituted” (before the Senate amendment)
“….a Judge shall, on an application by the accused, discharge the accused and record a verdict of not guilty if the offence is alleged to have been committed on a date that is ten years or more before the date of the application” (after the Senate amendment)
- This meant that in the pre-Senate amendment an accused person could have his prosecution stopped if after 10 years of being charged he was not brought to trial.
That Ramadhar, who would have had oversight on the legislation, never said a word in the debate last night speaks volumes. And the Opposition asked why was there a change in the wording of the Bill between both Houses.....this question was never answered.
At no point in time in the course of the debate did any member of the Cabinet read or quote from the Hansard....which has on record Volney agreeing to undertaking certain provisions before proclaiming the Bill. It was only the Opposition quoting from the Hansard.
Given that Volney would have promised, on behalf of the Government, to pass the law only after all provisions was in place, means that Volney is in contempt of Parliament.
Permit me to bore you with a quote from the Hansard, where Imbert is addressing the Parliament, and in it he talks about the provisions that must be put in place, such as building new courts etc to handle to capacity of petitions:
A copy of the Hansard Record of the debate on Section 34 in Dec 2011 can be found here.