Through party chairman Franklin Khan and party deputy leader Rohan Sinanan (who replaces Ali in the Senate), the PNM declared it would provide its fullest support to Ali and this matter would not have any negative repercussions on the ruling party whatsoever.
Before beginning his contribution to debate in the Senate on a motion to approve the Privileges and Immunities (Caricom Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) Order 2016, Khan thanked Ali for his contribution as a government senator since he was appointed to that post following the general election. Ali unsuccessfully contested the Barataria/ San Juan constituency for the PNM in those elections. As Government senators thumped their desks, Khan declared, “I just want to caution this society that we have a culture here, where for a single transgression, we condemn you for life.” Khan continued, “Hafeez Ali is still a very young man. He may have done something inappropriate but I think he will work through his challenges. We will give him all the support that he needs.” Looking at the Opposition and Independent Senators, Khan stated, “we should all as his former colleagues in this Senate and I speak now on behalf of the PNM, give him all the support that he needs to work through his challenges and hope for the best for him and his family.” Some Opposition and Independent senators joined the Government senators in thumping their desks in support of this statement.
Prior to Khan’s statements, Senate President Christine Kangaloo read a notice from President Anthony Carmona which declared Ali’s seat vacant. Kangaloo also announced that Carmona had appointed Sinanan as Ali’s replacement, acting on the advice of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. Sinanan then took his oath of office and joined the upper row of the Government’s senatorial bench. Government senator Daniel Dookie was relocated to the lower row to make way for Sinanan.Speaking with reporters about Ali before the sitting began, Khan remarked, “Well obviously, based on the circumstances, we are disappointed that something like this could have happened, but it’s a personal matter, so we don’t want to delve too deeply into it.” Khan said Ali’s resignation was not requested by anyone. “It was known to him and certain other key people in the party. He had an audience with the Prime Minister,” Khan said. He disclosed that Rowley met with Ali last Friday afternoon. “They discussed it and then he indicated his intention to resign.” Khan said Ali will remain the PNM’s coordinator for the Barataria/San Juan constituency and this is a party position.
During the tea break, Sinanan told reporters, “The PNM has withstood a lot in the last 60 years and I don’t think this will do anything at all.” He said ample evidence of that was the fact that yesterday Imran Mohammed, the grandson of deceased PNM stalwart Kamaluddin Mohammed, was appointed a temporary government senator to act for Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dennis Moses.
Mohammed died last December at the age of 88. “I am very proud of the PNM to be able to attract someone like him (Imran Mohammed) at this time,” Sinanan declared. Saying he has spoken to Ali and he is fine, Sinanan observed, “At the end of the day, life goes on and I guess one has to do, what is required. I will continue to give him support.” Sinanan said he was honoured and humbled to serve as a government senato