Trinidad: High tensions in Parliament sparks shouting match and name calling

Minister of National Security and Communications Stuart Young during Friday’s sitting of Parliament.

(Trinidad Guardian) Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young ac­cused the Op­po­si­tion of be­ing racists, spark­ing a shout­ing match and name call­ing in the Par­lia­ment on Fri­day night.

The in­ci­dent oc­curred while Young was mak­ing his con­tri­bu­tion to the de­bate on the Tres­pass (Amend­ment) Bill, 2019 in the Low­er House.

“I have al­so sat here and asked per­mis­sion to en­ter this de­bate be­cause I find it quite dis­taste­ful to sug­gest and re­duce this piece of leg­is­la­tion in the most deroga­to­ry terms and man­ners I have heard from those on the oth­er side to­day by sug­gest­ing it’s for HDC (Hous­ing De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion) and it’s for per­sons who live in HDC hous­es and to talk about Dun­can Street, and to talk about East Port-of-Spain in the most deroga­to­ry of man­ners,” Young said.

“So as the Mem­ber for Port-of-Spain North/St Ann’s West and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive for a large part of East Port-of-Spain, I rise for the peo­ple that I rep­re­sent and point them out for be­ing the racists that they are here to­day for be­ing those who have come here to at­tack those who sit in HDC hous­es, I am not with­draw­ing it,” Young said.

The state­ment caused an up­roar among the Op­po­si­tion bench­es with the MPs for Na­pari­ma Rod­ney Charles, Oropouche East Dr Roodal Mooni­lal and Cou­va South Rudranath In­dars­ingh ris­ing in ob­jec­tion.

“Sit down, sit down,” Young shout­ed in re­sponse.

House Speak­er Bridgid An­nisette-George, who was speak­ing to Min­is­ter in the Min­istry of the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al and Le­gal Af­fairs Fitzger­ald Hinds at the time of the in­ci­dent, rose to her feet call­ing for or­der.

Mooni­lal could be heard ac­cus­ing Young of hav­ing fam­i­ly who were “drug traf­fick­ers,” seem­ing­ly ref­er­enc­ing the fact that Young’s for­mer step­daugh­ter Krys­tiana Sankar is cur­rent­ly out on bail on drug-traf­fick­ing charges.

Young shot back, ac­cus­ing Mooni­lal of be­ing a “mon­ey laun­der­er.”

An­nisette-George sat back down as the shout­ing across the floor con­tin­ued for a few sec­onds more.

When every­one set­tled down An­nisette-George got back up. She ad­mon­ished all that were in­volved and asked them to with­draw their state­ments.

“Okay, ho­n­ourable mem­ber for Port-of-Spain North/St Ann’s West I would ask you to with­draw that state­ment you just made, mem­ber for Na­pari­ma there is a state­ment that you made that I would ask you to with­draw, Oropouche East there’s a state­ment you made which I would ask you to with­draw, Cou­va South two wrongs do not make a right, okay and from here for­ward tol­er­ance needs to be a guid­ing prin­ci­ple,” An­nisette-George said.

“I with­draw the ref­er­ence to the term racist,” Young said

“I with­draw the ref­er­ence to any­thing hav­ing to do with drugs,” Charles said.

“Madam Speak­er, I with­draw any­thing I said about him and I’m with­draw­ing from this Cham­ber as well,” Mooni­lal said as he left the Par­lia­ment cham­ber.

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