Thursday, June 28, 2007

House Clerk: No quick return for Panday

House Clerk: No quick return for Panday
By SEAN DOUGLAS and ANDRE BAGOO Thursday, June 28 2007

LAWYERS for the Clerk of the House of Representatives said the case of British MP Fiona Jones is not a valid precedent for UNC leader Basdeo Panday to simply walk back into Parliament to resume the Couva North seat.

Yesterday, the High Court vacancy petition brought by House Clerk Jacqui Sampson to determine the status of the Couva North seat came up for hearing before Justice Charmaine Pemberton in a packed courtroom of the Port-of-Spain High Court.

Panday, who also had another matter going on in the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court yesterday, turned up for the hearing shortly after 11am flanked by his wife Oma and MP Chandresh Sharma.

Panday’s lawyer Anand Ramlogan, is arguing that the Court of Appeal quashing of his Panday’s April 2006 Integrity trial conviction means the penalties that flowed from the case including his exclusion from Parliament are now null and void. Yesterday, he placed heavy reliance on the Jones case in which a British MP who had her seat vacated after being convicted of election fraud was allowed to return to Parliament after that conviction was quashed.

Ramlogan said that this case stood for the proposition that “justice requires that when a conviction is set aside all penalties should also, as far as possible, be set aside.”

However, the House Clerk’s attorney, Reginald Armor SC, said yesterday the ruling in the Fiona Jones case is not a valid precedent for Trinidad and Tobago, but is only specific to the British jurisdiction.

Further, he said the Trinidad and Tobago Constitution clearly spells out a different outcome for the Panday case. He argued that the interests of both justice and the electorate are served by the TT Constitution as opposed to any High Court declaration to return Panday to the House.

He added that sections 49 and 69 of the Constitution afford Panday due process. The sitting will resume today in the Port-of-Spain High Court.

Ah have to ask this question in decency.

Why is it that there is opposition to Panday returning to Parliament?
What can he do so that will interrupt or bring the House into disrepute?
Why is it that the people of Couva North not be represented?
Why is it that taxpayers fockin money is being wasted by these fockin PNM goons in an exercise of futility and pettiness?



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