Saturday, January 26, 2008

PNM Dirty Laundry in Senate Uproar

Opposition Senator causes stir in Senate
Sunday 27th January, 2008
Source: Trinidad Guardian

By Yvonne Baboolal

Author and popular letter writer, Mohammed Faisal Rahman, now an Opposition Senator, caused a stir in the Senate last Tuesday when he made his contribution to the Supplementary Appropriation Bill, prompting at least one Government Senator to say no to a request to extend his speaking time.

Rahman made several statements that kept Government Senators wide awake way past the 4.30 pm tea break, one of which was that it was a common practice for former PNM ministers to often ride free on the national airline, BWIA.

“I used to be in the travel business and airline personnel told me BWIA used to be packed with government ministers, not from this regime, from the past, from first class right down.

“BWIA too often had to carry non-revenue seats. Mr President can I ask for your help Sir?” Rahman asked, forced to break his contribution because of the chorus of protests that rose from the Government benches. (Now we see why BWIA was always running at a loss under the PNM.)

When the noises from the other side abated, the bearded Rahman reminded the Government that the reasons it gave for wanting to shut down the national airline was that it was saddled with inefficiencies and cost overruns.

Next, he moved on to attack Government’s 2020 Vision and its emphasis on the construction of mega buildings in the city, in particular.

“Vision 2020 seems to be an altered skyline. I see the buildings all stacked up there and it looks like a little piece of New York.

“But the Government should be building schools, houses, hospitals and police stations to bring social benefits to the people. (Well done Mr. Rahaman. Apparently the 299,813 PNMites don't have much of a brain, so they are unable to realise that they can't eat sky-scrapers and that they are being treated like 3rd class citizens.)

“Government is supposed to be providing security, food, clothing and shelter...I am giving you some discomfort, am I?” he paused again to ask a Government Senator who had fired a salvo at him.

Continuing, Rahman then blamed Prime Minister Patrick Manning for the high cost of goods in the country.

“Manning didn’t float the dollar. He submerged it like a submarine and handed control of the currency of the nation to the banking sector.

“The sovereignty of a nation hinges on its control of its currency and when you give it to the banks they determine what goods cost. Over the years the banks continued to devaluate the dollar and profit by this. “The dollar has been steadily losing its purchasing power. One dollar is now worth 16 cents,” Rahman informed the Senate.

He said all of this was linked to crime. “Necessity can make a priest, maulana or pundit a criminal. But how can you be concerned for the poor when you are living in a $48 million palace?” he asked rhetorically. (Well all Manning care about is being a King and the PNMites, as I said earlier, fail to realise that they can't live on sky-scrapers and palaces won't do them any good either.)

At this, a Government Senator shot up, Standing Orders in hand, and pointed Senate President Danny Montano to a rule that spoke about the relevancy of a speaker’s contribution.

Montano agreed that Rahman had certainly sailed way off course and asked him to try and bring his contribution nearer to the subject at hand.

Rahman, noting he was not telling the Government these things because he was on “the other side” but because he was a citizen of the country, then digressed to disclose that he had once been a supporter of the PNM for years. “I was a PNM boy,” he said.

He also took the opportunity to chastise Manning for once referring to himself as the father of the nation, declaring, “There has been and will always be only one father of the nation, Dr Eric Williams.”

When his speaking time ended shortly after and a request to extend it by 15 minutes was put to the vote, one Government Senator (Couldn't handle the heat eh?) said a loud no.

Grateful that it was only one person, Rahman said, “I thank the majority on the other side for allowing me to speak, at their expense.”

Well it seems to me that Mr. Rahaman is really a fine choice by the UNC-A. Bravo on your stellar contribution to the Upper House.

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