Trinidad express report. Anna Ramdass [email protected]
The Parliament will be transformed to an arena-type setting today as Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar takes on the role of a self-styled “matador” to attack Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, dubbed the “raging bull”.
It was former prime minister Patrick Manning who in 2007 first dubbed Rowley a “raging bull” and “wajang” after firing him as Trade Minister.
The People’s Partnership has sought to gain political mileage out of this by airing video footage of Manning’s attack on Rowley in the lead-up to today’s debate on the no- confidence motion against the Prime Minister.
Persad-Bissessar herself has said that today the Parliament will be the arena where she will take charge and battle Rowley with the full support of her team of “matadors”.
Sources told the Express that Persad-Bissessar will be defending herself against Rowley’s motion of no-confidence in her and may even speak directly after him or before he winds up his motion, depending on what he reveals.
The Express was told by government sources that Persad-Bissessar will be coming fully prepared to embarrass the Opposition Leader and turn his own motion against him.
Speaking at public meetings in Couva South and Penal this week, Persad-Bissessar said Government will be coming with bombshells and warned Rowley that this was the beginning of his political end as “the raging bull will meet his matadors”.
The much anticipated debate will kick off just after 1.30 p.m. when the Parliament is convened at Tower D of the Waterfront Complex, Port of Spain. Rowley, the mover of the motion, will be the first to speak for a total of 75 minutes.
Rowley has said he has no “mark to buss” on the Prime Minister but many are still waiting with bated breath, refusing to believe that the PNM leader does not have something up his sleeve to drop.
On the heels of Rowley, the strongest debater on the Government side which may be Persad-Bissessar herself, or other
front benchers such as Suruj Rambachan, Roodal Moonilal or Jack Warner, will be ready to respond.
If all 40 members of the House speak for their allotted 75 minutes, the debate can run for as long as 50 hours. The Express, however, understands that the debate will continue non-stop straight into Saturday morning.
The only empty chair in the Chamber tomorrow will be that of Manning who is in the United States receiving treatment for a stroke he suffered in January.
The Express has learned that all members of the PNM bench intend to speak for their full allotted time of 75 minutes.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Communications, Suruj Rambachan, told the Express yesterday that the Government is ready for anything and is continuously strategising.
“A highly-prepared group of Ministers will be ready to respond to everything that is said by the Opposition. This team will be well researched in order to point out the incompetence and lack of vision in the leadership of the PNM,” Rambachan said.
Rambachan said the crowds at every public meeting was a reflection of the massive support that the Prime Minister still commands.
Large screens have been set up on the Waterfront for public viewing of the debate.
“We’re anticipating people to probably rally around Parliament so we’re aware of that and we have contingency plans put in place,” he said.
He was speaking exclusively with the Express following a ceremony at the St James Police Youth Club, Petit Valley to commemorate local communications provider Green Dot’s one year sponsorshipprogramme of the club.
Questioned whether there had been an official request for a rally, Ewatski replied “I am not too sure of the details”.
—with reporting by Julien Neaves