“I cannot support this motion because the Government has converted the Privileges Committee into a kangaroo court,” Imbert said as he ended his contribution to debate on a motion to approve the First Report of the Commitee. “This is the beginning of dictatorship!”
Imbert had earlier admonished Government MPs for “blunders” in the process of having a report on a disciplinary matter against Manning approved. That report found an apparent case of contempt against Manning over statements he made about the private residence of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the Siparia MP, last year. “The Government has committed a number of blunders in its haste to suspend the member for San Fernando East,” Imbert said. He argued that Persad-Bissessar should have been brought before the committee and made to testify in order to disprove Manning’s allegations.
“I have no view on the accuracy of the statements made by the Member of Parliament for San Fernando East or the Member of Parliament for Siparia because as a member of the committee I have not been able to question either member of this House,” Imbert said.
“The Government plans to decimate the ranks of the Opposition and create deficiencies for democracy,” Imbert said. “There is a plan to use this as a precedent to suspend the member for Diego Martin West. As sure as night follows day.”
While Monday sittings of Parliament have been common under this Government, Imbert questioned why Government held a sitting of Parliament on a Monday to deal with the Manning report.
“There could only be one reason why we are here today on a Monday instead of a Friday,” Imbert said. “What is the emergency? I would not have minded to discuss amendments to the Dangerous Dogs Act to deal with this evil that has affected our land or to deal with some financial issue that would have affected the economy, crime, or something more mundane. But instead, the Government has convened the Parliament on a Monday for no good reason.”
“This Government’s power has gone to its head,” Imbert said. “It is power mad. There are all sorts of things happening. What the Government is doing this is blatantly a distraction to shift the spotlight away from them and their kankatang!”