Hinds: UNC is breaking down

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds welcomed Cumuto/Manzanilla MP Dr Rai Ragbir’s support for Government’s Whistleblower Protection Bill 2024 in the House of Representatives on Friday, suggesting it may have led to the Opposition, later that day, supporting a bill for the polygraph testing of police and other public officials engaged in sensitive matters.

The bill Hinds was referring to was the Miscellaneous Provisions (Testing and Identification) Bill 2022.

The minister spoke to Newsday outside the Red House after the sitting ended for the day and when he was asked to respond to Ragbir’s vote.

“I was not altogether surprised, because we have been observing the collapse of the UNC within recent times. We are aware of some of their public utterances and conduct that Rai Ragbir and a few others of them have been signalling matters of principle.

“Once you stand on principle, you are going to get into confrontation with the UNC, because they are about situational ethics rather than principle.” Hinds said that was a big difference between the UNC and PNM. “So I was not altogether surprised.”

Hinds said the effect of Ragbir’s vote did not stop at just the day’s first bill, but likely affected the vote outcome on the second bill.

“Apparently his boldness and his strength to stand up for what he believes in, and what was right, it reverberated throughout the (UNC) team. We went on to the polygraphing and integrity testing bill which required a special majority.

“Today was not the first day of the debate. On previous days their (UNC) posture was rather unprincipled, but today the cataclysmic impact of Rai Ragbir’s action…They say a rising tide lifts all boats and it appears the wave he engineered and engendered, it took all of the UNC and they all voted for the bill which, as I just told you, required a special majority.”

Hinds said he was very happy, but not for the UNC, which he claimed was now in a complete breakdown. “They are in a complete mess. And they are the authors of their own internal combustion.

“But I am happy for the people of TT, because two very important bills were passed today – the Whistleblower Bill which was five years in the making in Parliament, and of course since 2022, the polygraphing bill for members of the protective services and other aspects of the civil service.

“So it was a good day for the people of TT and as usual that goodness was led by the PNM government in the Parliament.”