Moonilal brings motion against Speaker

OROPOUCHE East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal today Friday, in the House of Representatives will move a no-confidence motion against Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George, the latest twist in their row over his call to debate an oil shipment by Paria Fuel Trading to Aruba which ended up in sanctions-hit Venezuela. Friday in the House is private members day, starting at 1.30 pm.

Moonilal’s motion is alleging a conflict of interest by Annisette-George and is lamenting her statement which had criticised his airing of views.

The motion recalls on April 27 Moonilal tried to move the adjournment of the House to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely the alleged sale of fuel to Venezuela involving Paria, allegedly in contravention of international sanctions.

The motion alleges that the Speaker, in ruling that the matter did not qualify under Standing Order 17, had failed to declare a possible conflict of interest.

It then complains that on May 8, 2020, in the aftermath of this ruling the Speaker, under in the House announcements had rebuked and condemned Moonilal for reporting elsewhere on this matter.

“And whereas the Speaker committed a breach of the established rules of conduct and conventions of this House. And whereas the Speaker brought the high and noble office of the Speaker into disrepute, ‘Be it resolved that this House censures the Speaker for her failure to act properly and impartially in the exercise of her office.’”

Moonilal on April 27 had told the House the shipment was illegal and could expose TT to sanctions.

Annisette-George had denied Moonilal’s request by saying mere allegations did not constitute a definite matter of urgent public importance. The next day Moonilal wrote to complain to US envoy Joseph Mondello. Annisette-George in her statement to the House then accused Moonilal of “public cavorting” and said his actions as “egregious, intolerable, beneath the dignity of the House.”

Days later Moonilal’s constituency executive called on the Speaker to resign for “an arbitrary and repressive tirade” and “unwarranted attack” on him.

The executive said, “If the Speaker has a modicum of decency left she must resign particularly in the aftermath of the bombshell revelation of Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar which implicates her (Annisette-George’s) husband in an international ‘fuel gate’ scandal in breach of global sanctions.”

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