St Augustine MP Khadijah Ameen
ST Augustine MP Khadijah Ameen was instructed to leave the House of Representatives on Friday.
She got her marching orders from Deputy Speaker Esmond Forde after she defied a ruling he made, while Minister in the Agriculture Ministry Nigel De Freitas was contributing to debate in the House on a private motion about an alleged food crisis.
While De Freitas was speaking. Forde interrupted him to caution Naparima MP Rodney Charles for an inaudible remark that he made. Forde told Charles, “I heard you.”
At this stage, Ameen made an inaudible remark towards Forde. He told Ameen to leave the Parliament Chamber for five minutes.
Ameen countered, “I’m not leaving here, man.”
Forde replied, “As a matter of fact, leave for the rest of the day.”
Ameen continued to argue as she packed her bag to leave the Chamber.
Forde told her, “Please leave in silence.”
He noticed that Charles was leaving as well and told him to leave quietly.
De Freitas resumed his contribution after Ameen and Charles left. He lamented, “It is unfortunate.”
Forde advised him not to speak about the ruling he had just made and continue with his contribution. De Freitas complied.
He agreed with earlier statements made in the debate by Agriculture Minister Kazim Hosein about measures taken and being taken by Government to improve agriculture.
De Freitas said the claims made by Couva North MP Ravi Ratiram (the motion’s mover) about a food crisis were fictitious.
“You (Opposition) are living in a fairytale. We (Government) are living in the real world.”
As someone whose family came from a fishing background in Tobago, De Freitas said he was heartened that the Prime Minister laid the Fisheries Management Bill in Parliament in 2020. He said this will help in the longterm preservation of marine resources and coastal communities.
De Freitas observed Ratiram said nothining about fishing, even though he represents a constituency where many people see that as their livelihood.
He scoffed at Chaguanas East MP Vandana Mohit’s questions about mega-farms, which began under the former Patrick Manning administration. De Freitas reminded her that the UNC-led People’s Partnership (PP) coalition did nothing with respect to those farms from May 2010-September 2015.
He also questioned whether the PP had a policy to convert two-acre agricultural plots promised by the Manning administration to former Caroni (1975) Ltd workers to commercial lands.
In her earlier contribution, Mohit said the motion reflected people’s reality today.
“How does this government expect people to survive?”
Mohit claimed soon mothers may have to feed their babies water and flour if they could not buy milk.
“I had that when I was small.”
She was concerned about what impact recently increased fuel prices would have on food prices and that it could cost poor families $6,000 amonth to feed themselves.
“I will not be an ostrich and bury my head in the sand,” she declared.