Friday, October 5, 2012

Moonilal to meet Volney to clarify position in Parliament

File: Roodal Moonilal and Herbet Volney at a UNC rally
Government Whip Roodal Moonilal plans to meet with dismissed Justice Minister Herbert Volney to clarify Volney's political status within the Parliament.

The St Joseph MP said earlier this week he would continue to sit in Parliament as the elected member for his constituency and as a member of his party, the United National Congress (UNC). 

However he made it clear that he won't be taking instructions from the Whip, who represents the governing coalition. 

"I am under the UNC. That is the distinction," Volney told the Express newspaper. "I remain a committed member of the UNC and a UNC Member of Parliament. But the Government is the People's Partnership Government, with a People's Partnership Government leader of business whip.

"So the dynamics of political engagement have shifted, have changed with my dismissal. I am no longer in the Government. So I see no reason why and my constituents have told me that there is no good reason why I need to remain under the whip.

"They want me to be free to speak for the constituency as and when the opportunity arises. Under the Government whip I could not do that," he explained.
Volney told the paper he would attend UNC party rallies but not caucus meetings because they are caucuses of the People's Partnership.

He added that he continues to have "an excellent relationship" with Moonilal and would abide by Moonilal's decision on matters relating to a UNC position. "Once he tells me the UNC is behind this, I will not stand against it. If I am to stand against it then the moral thing to do is to leave the House," he said.

Volney said his position is based on what his constituents have told him - that they want him to speak for St Joseph "without any bridle on my mouth" and remain "a UNC in the House".
The paper said Volney was adamant that he did nothing wrong and that he was fired because the Prime Minister had to make a choice between losing the Congress of the People (COP) MPs or firing one of her own. 

"It was Minister Ramadhar who is the one who led the assault on me in my absence on the day when I was fired when I was asked to recuse myself from the Cabinet", the Express reported. "It was clear that the Prime Minister had a choice between five people walking or one person being fired."

Moonilal explained to the Express that Volney's separation from the coalition means that he is "effectively out of the Government"  and cannot "depend on your parliamentary colleagues for support and your ministerial colleagues for assistance," he said.

"If we don't co-ordinate our position in the Parliament, then we would not be in a position to assist colleagues and work as a team," he said. 

Moonilal added that if Volney is not taking directions from the whip, he would have to catch the Speaker's in order to intervene in a debate. "And he is sitting quite a distance from the Speaker. I am not sure if he would be able to do that," he said.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai