Mayaro MP: Opposition will not allow dictatorship – Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Mayaro MP Rushton Paray.
Mayaro MP Rushton Paray.

Mayaro MP Rushton Paray says the Opposition is redoubling its efforts to defend the Constitution and guard democracy, and will not allow the country to be led by authoritarian rule.

In a statement on Sunday, Paray said, “The Opposition made it abundantly clear that it would not permit our treasured TT to be taken to the precipice of dictatorship, authoritarian rule, and subversion of the laws of the land.”

He was responding to the events of last Thursday in the Parliament where the Electoral College – which comprises all members of the House of Representatives and the Senate –rejected a motion filed by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar for the appointment of a tribunal to investigate the removal of President Paula-Mae Weekes from office.

The motion was made in relation to the events which led to the collapse of the Police Service Commission. Chairman Bliss Seepersad and all other commissioners resigned in September in the midst of fallout over the appointment and then suspension of Gary Griffith as acting Commissioner of Police (CoP).

Paray was absent from the sitting on Thursday.

“We are the Parliamentary opposition which has a clear mandate as set aside in the Constitution. We are the watchdogs who act on behalf of, not only the people but the legacy of our forefathers and those who have come before.”

He said the UNC made it clear that it would not be led toward a “Venezuelan-style” dictatorship.

“Under the stewardship of (Persad-Bissessar) we stood for voiceless citizens, and we plan to continue to stand against authoritarianism and to demand transparency on all aspects of governance.

“For the past six years, TT has seen the Rowley government go rogue with wild spending, while people are losing jobs, businesses are closing down and more and more people are becoming destitute.”

Paray asked to know on what constitutional authority did the President return the Order of Merit list for CoP nominees to Seepersad. He also asked why this information was not disclosed to the court and what caused all the commissioners of the PSC to resign.

“Persad-Bissessar has led forcefully on these critical issues, and the Opposition is redoubling its efforts in protecting the society, defending the constitution, and guarding democracy. We must not allow institutions to fail or be undermined.”

Paray said he sympathised with those who likened the Opposition’s behaviour to a fish market.

“If you felt a sense of unease or discomfort, don’t. We are a young nation finding out way. Parliament is described in some circles as civilised warfare. The Chamber is not a church and was never designed to host tea parties, cocktails, and scones.

“The battle in the Chamber prevents the battle on the streets. So let the battle in Parliament rage on.”