Trinidad – Wade Mark must resign
PORT OF SPAIN – House Speaker Wade Mark yesterday had the unpleasant task of approving a no-confidence motion in himself filed by Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner.
Once this debate commences, the deputy Speaker would have to preside over the debate.
This motion of no confidence can be debated as early as February 9. However, there is another no-confidence motion ahead of it on the timetable of the House of Representatives—in Minister of Finance Larry Howai, filed by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, which was approved on Monday.
Both Mark and Howai are at the centre of the drama that unfolded last Friday when Parliament was thrown into a maelstrom of controversy, arising out of the motion of censure against Howai and the strictures which the Speaker sought to put on, erroneously claimed by the Speaker on representation from the High Court.
The motion of no confidence against the Speaker is based almost entirely on events of last Friday. It states as follows:
Whereas on January 23, 2015, there was a motion of censure against the Finance Minister; and whereas the Speaker, in an unprecedented move, informed the House that he received “a notice from the High Court, dated January 16, 2015”, regarding “a matter involving Larry Howai and Azad Ali of the Sunshine Publishing Company Ltd; and whereas the statement by the Speaker was intended to and did impact upon the debate on the said motion; and whereas on January 26, 2015, the Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago issued a media release stating that “no notice, letter or any other communication on the matter was forwarded by the Court or any of its officers to the Speaker or any officers of the Parliament; and whereas the release by the Judiciary has brought into question the conduct of the Speaker; …and whereas by these actions, the Speaker has demonstrated partiality and brought the Office of the Speaker into disrepute and public ridicule and the House of Representatives into public odium; be it resolved that this Honourable House declare its loss of confidence in Mr Wade Mark as Speaker of the House of House of Representatives”.
Yesterday, Rowley also called for Mark to go. He said Mark told an “untruth to the Parliament, implicated the Judiciary, damaged a member’s privilege, halted a motion, hid information from the House”.
Rowley said he had written to the Speaker, asking for the letter notifying him of the lawsuit, and the Speaker responded he would “clarify” on Friday.
“We are not buying no error. This is a deliberate act and it had serious, far-reaching, damaging consequences,” Rowley said.