Paray misses PAEC meeting on NP

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Mayaro MP Rushton Paray –

MAYARO MP Rushton Paray was a noticeable absentee at a meeting of Parliament’s Public Accounts Enterprises Committee (PAEC) on April 3 to deal with the fiscal 2018 and 2019 audited financial statements of the National Petroleum Marketing Company Ltd (NP).

Paray is the PAEC vice-chairman.

But his absence was not related to his call for internal elections in the UNC, which has led party leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar to threaten him with expulsion from the party.

Newsday was told Paray’s absence was due to illness and he had advised PAEC chairman, Opposition Senator Wade Mark of his unavailability for the meeting. At a news conference at the UNC’s headquarters in Chaguanas on March 24, Mark condemned those who are calling for the party’s internal elections to be held when they are constitutionally due.

“Don’t bully the (UNC national) executive. Don’t bully the party. “The UNC is bigger than any individual.

“The UNC stands on very strong, resilient, and democratic principles.”

He did not mention Paray by name.

At a news conference in Couva on March 22, Paray called for the internal elections.

The party is constitutionally due to hold elections for all posts on its national executive (Natex) in June, with the exception of political leader. The election for that post is due next year.

Paray believes talk of a general election is simply a ruse intended to suppress the voice of the UNC’s membership.

He said he was not afraid of becoming an outcast within the UNC for taking that stand. A general election is due near the end of 2025.

In an interview on March 26, Persad-Bissessar threatened to expel any dissidents in UNC and accused Paray of being a “PNM infiltrator.”

On March 28, Paray said he was not afraid of Persad-Bissessar’s threat.

He reiterated that just because he has decided not to continue to talk regularly in the media about his call for internal elections does not mean he has abandoned that call or accepted the views of Persad-Bisssessar.

Under the UNC’s constitution, the political leader does not have the sole authority to expel members, as reflected in section 21, which deals extensively with discipline. Ordinary party members, MPs, senators and members of local government corporations are all subject to be disciplined under this part of the constitution.

Section 21(d) states, “Any member of the party serving in Parliament or on any municipal corporation or other public forum who votes contrary to the declared policies or principles or programmes of the party or to any directive of the party on any matter, or who wilfully omits to vote or to act in accordance with any directive or policies, principles or programmes of the party or does or wilfully omits to do any act in connection therewith which in the opinion of the national executive (Natex) conflicts with or is contrary to the declared policies, or principles or programmes of the party is liable to immediate suspension pending the determination thereof by the disciplinary committee.

Should the committee deem the offence serious enough to warrant expulsion, Section 21(d) adds that the offending individual shall not be entitled to be a member of the party for five years, and then only on the recommendation of the (UNC’s) National Congress.

This body is the equivalent of the PNM’s annual convention.

In both cases, the party, including the general membership, assembles publicly at scheduled times to deliberate and vote on matters considered important to the party.