UNC files motion of privileges against Hinds for ‘skimpy’ comments

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds gestures during Monday’s news conference at his ministry in Port of Spain. Photo by Roger Jacob

THE United National Congress (UNC) has filed a motion of privileges against Laventille West MP and Minister of National Security, Fitzgerald Hinds.

The motion stems from what the Opposition called, “degrading comments” channelled towards Chaguanas East MP Vandana Mohit in the Parliament last Monday.

In accordance with Standing Order 32 (2) Opposition chief whip and Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee filed the motion on Thursday evening, calling on Hinds to be brought before the Privileges Committee.

Lee said Hinds breached one of the fundamental privileges of Parliament which all members are entitled to in the “freedom from obstruction, interference, intimidation and molestation.”

In a release on the filing of the motion, the UNC said it is of the view that “the unparliamentary, vile and vulgar remarks made by the Member for Laventille West at the sitting of the House of Representatives on May 23, 2022, not only breached the Privileges of the Parliament but contravened the immunities that are afforded to all members which must be protected, preserved and upheld at all times.

“Minister Hinds’ comments were of such an obscene, vulgar and degrading nature, even the editorial board of the Newsday called out Minister Hinds for his behaviour.”

The UNC quoted excerpts from the Editorial.

“As the Newsday states: ‘Hiding behind the fig leaf of unsubtle innuendo (Mr Hinds repeated his offensive jibes no less than five times), the Minister of National Security once again demonstrated a complete inability to read the room. He showed no contrition even when the Speaker warned him a second time to move on.”

In the Parliament last Monday, Hinds repeatedly referred to the minority report which Mohit and others would have submitted as “almost naked” and “skimpy.” He was warned by Speaker Bridgette Anisette-George that his language might be considered unparliamentary, but he persisted.

Mohit was a victim of leaked photographs and the UNC noted, “at a time when girls and women are victims of unprecedented levels of violent assault, the vile language and behaviour displayed by Minister Hinds would have given no reassurance that he is capable of treating gender-based violence with the seriousness it deserves.

“The UNC has always and will always stand up for the rights of girls and women and will call out all perpetrators of misogyny regardless if they sit in Parliament or not.”