Gail Alexander

Both the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament meet in extraordinary joint session on Thursday to debate the Opposition’s call for a tribunal to investigate the President to remove her.

The Opposition filed the motion last week taking issue with President Paula Mae Weekes’ handling of matters pertaining to the Police Service Commission and the selection of a Police Commissioner.

The Opposition filed the motion last week under UNC leader Kamla Persad- Bissessar’s name. It’s signed by all UNC MPs.

Yesterday, the Parliament issued an agenda for Thursday detailing the motion

The Senate will meet first in its southern chamber.

Senators will then join House of Representatives MPs in the north chamber for the debate .

Votes from two thirds of the total members from both Houses is needed for passage of the motion.

The PNM Government has a total of 38 members among its 22 Lower House MPs and 16 Upper House senators.

The Opposition UNC has a total of 25 from its 19 Lower House MPs and six Senators.

There are also nine Independent senators. The Independents are all appointed by the President. Among them is Charisse Seepersad, sister of embattled former PSC chairman Bliss Seepersad. She resigned recently after other PSC commissioners resigned regarding the CoP issue.

From out of the total of all 72 members in both Houses, the Opposition will have to get closest to 48 votes for the motion to pass

Yesterday former commissioner Gary Griffith took to You Tube to stress that the President has no choice but to send the current merit of names for CoP and acting CoP to Parliament.

UNC’s motion states that Section 35 of the Constitution provides that the President may be removed under section 36 from office where she–(a)willfully violates any provision of the Constitution; and/or(b)behaves in such a way as to bring her office into hatred, ridicule or contempt and/or(c)behaves in a way that endangers the security of the State. And whereas there have been unrefuted reports: a) of recent events at President’s House of interference in the selection processes undertaken by the Police Service Commission (“PSC”); and b)that a list of nominees for Commissioner of Police prepared by the PSC was recently submitted to The President and she refused to notify the House of these nominees. And whereas The President has neglected to publicly address those reports and has otherwise failed to faithfully execute her several duties under the Constitution.

And whereas in the circumstances, The President should be removed from office since she: (a)willfully violated the provisions of the Constitution securing the independence of the PSC in the performance of its functions and also willfully violated section 123 of the Constitution; (b)behaved in such a way as to bring her office into hatred, ridicule or contempt by interfering and/or facilitating interference with the PSC and also by proceeding in the circumstances to appoint new members of the PSC;

2(c)behaved in a way that has resulted in the endangerment of the security of the State through her inactions and/failure and/or neglect to act; and (d)has otherwise failed and/or neglected to execute her duties under the Constitution.