The Red House. Photo by Jeff Mayers
Almost all of the Opposition MPs present in the Parliament on Monday walked out before Attorney General Reginald Armour began his presentation on the Bills of Exchange (Amendment) Bill, 2022. Only Whip David Lee remained in the chamber, with the other MPs returning after Armour finished his presentation.
The walkout came after Opposition Leader and Siparia MP Kamla Persad-Bissessar said the Opposition lacked confidence in the legislation if it was drafted by Armour.
“When and by whom was it drafted? I have a great concern in that I have no confidence in the AG and his office, in light of matters that have transpired. So it would be important for us in having trust and confidence in the piece of legislation to know from whence it emanated and by whom it was drafted and approved.”
Following Persad-Bissessar’s contribution, a commotion arose as the MPs left the chamber. Deputy Speaker Esmond Forde was recorded as saying,
“Member for Siparia, honourable members, please leave in silence. Please exit the chamber in the usual manner.”
Persad-Bissessar later sent out a statement saying the UNC refused to sit in the House of Representatives when Armour addressed it, and returned after he finished speaking to continue conducting the business of the people.
It said the Opposition took this action because the evidence of Armour’s unsuitability and unethical behaviour were crystal clear.
“Given the serious allegations of perjury facing Mr Armour, the Opposition believes that he is unfit to continue to hold office as AG. Mr Armour is not simply a member of the Rowley government, he is also the titular head of the Bar as well as the head of the nation’s legal fraternity. This makes Mr Armour’s silence on the allegations against him all the more concerning. If the AG has no respect for the Constitution, which is the supreme law of our land, or the legal fraternity as a whole, then there can be no trust between the public and the nation’s highest legal officer.
“Thanks to Mr Armour’s misconduct, that legal matter which has cost the nation millions is now in jeopardy. Only wilful blindness and arrogance on the part of Keith Rowley are protecting Mr Armour from the consequences of his actions now.
It said the UNC has always stood for the rule of law and “will not sit by as someone who has disregarded laws on the international stage, who has embarrassed our nation and brought his office into disrepute disgracefully addresses our Parliament. The Opposition repeats our position that we have no confidence in AG Reginald Armour and maintains our call for his immediate resignation or dismissal.”