T&T’s PM survives no-confidence motion

A no-confidence motion in the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar by Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley was defeated in the House of Representatives on Saturday after a historic 27 and a half hours of debate.

All 20 government MPs voted against, while 11 opposition MPs voted in favor of the motion, which began on Friday at 1.30 p.m. and ended after 5:00 p.m. the following day.

It was the longest sitting in the history of the country’s Parliament, Speaker Wade Mark told the House.

No MP abstained from voting. The 12th People’s National Movement (PNM) MP, former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Patrick Manning is in the USA recuperating from a stroke.

In her contribution Persad-Bissessar delivered a stinging attack on Rowley for making allegations against her without a shred of evidence, said the objective of the motion was to get her fired and bring down the government, but the opposition had failed in its attempt.

“The motion was doomed to fail. You must come with evidence,” she said.

She said for 12 years Rowley’s former leader Patrick Manning had to put up with him and had even described him as a “raging bull and a man completely out of control.”

Dr. Rowley first announced he had filed a motion against Persad-Bissessar when he spoke at a news conference recently.

He noted that the opposition was going to lose the vote on the motion because of the government’s numerical advantage in the Parliament. “The actual votes cast are not the matter at hand, it is what is said in the debate and we (PNM) have a lot to say to the government,” he said.

The text of Rowley’s motion cites the prime minister’s gross incompetence, failure to stimulate the economy and create sustainable employment; a consistent unwillingness to act in the best interest of the people of T&T and an absence of effective management of officers under the control of the prime minister, resulting in persistent confusion and encouragement of wrongdoing in the conduct of the national affairs of the country, as the reasons why he is calling on the House “to express its concern and lack of confidence in Persad-Bissessar.”

Rowley said he wanted the prime minister to account for her stewardship since her government took office 22 months ago.

The People’s Partnership government comprises a coalition of five political parties.

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