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MP for Laventille West, Fitzgerald Hinds (Image courtesy Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago)

Opposition MP Rodney Charles and Government MP Fitzgerald Hinds yesterday argued in Parliament about their respective interpretations of messages sent by voters in Monday’s elections in Trinidad and Tobago.

The verbal showdown occurred during the Opposition’s no-confidence debate on National Security Minister Stuart Young, as Charles took aim at Young while Hinds mounted a hot defence.

Charles yelled and raged so much about Young that he was often left breathless. He apologised for bringing a motion against former National Security Minister Edmund Dillon since he said Young who replaced Dillion was much worse.

Charles said the Prime Minister had dismissed some concerns about the exemption system saying Government’s could not be emotional. Charles said that was why Tobagonians on Monday showed how they felt about Government being “uncaring.” He was referring to the 6-6 Tobago House of Assembly vote where the PNM lost four seats to the PDP resulting in a historic deadlock.

Hinds in reply said the Government supported Young, and that Young didn’t choose himself as Minister, but the Prime Minister who selected his Cabinet. Hinds said Young by virtue of his performance ethic, honesty, integrity and capacity, was suited for the job.

When it came to elections, Hinds said the PNM had won two recent general elections and as for “messages” sent by voters, he said the UNC had gotten that twice, “and the Opposition Leader has gotten those messages about 12 times on the track!”

The Laventille West MP also challenged Opposition Leader Kamla Persad- Bissessar to say – as Young did – that she was in nobody’s back pocket.

“ Not one of them (in the UNC) could say that!” Hinds declared.

He said homicides had dropped under Young, but by contrast Persad- Bissessar had hired Jack Warner as National Security MInister when she knew “ he was an “international scalper and the whole world was looking for him.”

Hinds added a probe is probably still on regarding a former UNC Minister who was found smoking marijuana in Room 101 with a Spanish woman.

He said Persad- Bissessar’s concerns about a Venezuelan prostitution ring, where nationals were involved, would better be answered by people on her side.

As Charles and Hinds sparred, there were rumblings on both Opposition and Government benches which forced Speaker of the House Bridgid Annisette – George to intervene.

The House Speaker made St Augustine MP Kadijah Ameen apologise for “steupsing”, which Ameen coldly complied.

Another Opposition MP Saddam Hosein was chastised for unparliamentary language after he asked, “What is the relevance of this nonsense this man (Hinds) speaking?”

While another Opposition MP was heard telling Hinds to wear his mask above his nose.