Fired minister to play UNC MP role
PORT OF SPAIN – Herbert Volney has decided to operate in Parliament as a UNC MP, independent of instructions from the People’s Partnership Government whip. He said his constituents wanted him to function as an Independent. “My constituents are very hurt over my recent dismissal and they want me to be able to speak for them freely in the House as a UNC MP but independent of the PP‚whip,” he said yesterday as he walked his constituency seeking opinions on the issue.
Volney, who said he was made the “fall guy” in the Section 34 issue, spoke about his situation when the T&T Guardian contacted him yesterday to ask if he would attend the budget debate. He missed Monday’s budget presentation. Speaker Wade Mark said he had asked to be excused.
Yesterday Volney said he had been walking his St. Joseph constituency since last Saturday gauging constituents’ views on his dismissal and asking whether he should resign or stay on. He said he had covered more than half of the seat. Yesterday he walked in Mt. Lambert which was pivotal to his winning the seat in 2010.
Volney told the T&T Guardian as he walked: “The feedback received from constituents all over so far is that they have been very hurt by what has happened. I‚didn’t quite expect that but they are very supportive of me. “They have said they want me remain in‚Parliament and to speak for them as a UNC‚MP but they also want me to be able to represent them freely and independently in the House. I can only do that if I am not under the PP whip. If I am under the PP whip, I can’t be free to speak as I would have to toe the PP Government party line.”
He added: “As a UNC MP no longer under the PP whip, I will still continue to support the Government, but constructively criticise if things are not in the best interest of my constituents.” After the walk, Volney said: “I feel confident I have a mandate to remain in the Parliament for the rest of my term and the people want me as the independent voice of St. Joseph.”
He won the St. Joseph seat in the May 2010 general election as one of the UNC’s 29 MPs, with 10,835 votes to PNM’s Kennedy Swaratsingh’s 7,781 votes. (Guardian)