…Set up a people’s parliament, debate your motions, Dr. Hinds tells Opposition
Political Scientist, Dr. David Hinds, while admonishing the main Opposition – the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) – to get creative in the execution of its mandate, proposed the establishment of a “people’s parliament” should its bills and motions continue to be rejected by the National Assembly.
Such, a tactic he said was employed by the late Eric Williams, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, before his accession to Office. “They have to hold People’s Parliament. You get one of your persons to be the Speaker…and you carry on an alternative parliament and you debate that motion,” Dr Hinds posited while underscoring the need to be politically creative.
At the time, he was speaking during an interview on KAMS TV aired on popular social media platform – Facebook – on Tuesday.
On Monday, Opposition Member of Parliament Geeta Chandan-Edmond signaled her intention to move a motion at the next sitting of the National Assembly condemning the brutal murders of Isaiah Henry, Joel Henry and Haresh Sing and to call upon law enforcement to bring the killers to justice. Chandan-Edmond, who was part of a delegation of Opposition MPs and grieving relatives gave notice to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs during the visit to Public Buildings.
Dr. Hinds, while applauding the move, dubbed it the Eusi Kwayana Model. He recalled that when the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) contested the Elections in 1985 for the first time, it was allocated one seat in the National Assembly for which Kwayana occupied. “With that one seat Kwayana was introducing motions into that Parliament. He was getting that Parliament to consider things they would never have considered. He got a motion passed for National Unity; he got the PNC and the PPP to vote for it, which was the most impossible thing to do during that period,” he recalled.
He explained that Kwayana Model illustrates how Parliamentarians can effectively influence change and policies in the country from the Opposition benches.
The governing People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has vowed not to cooperate with the APNU+AFC but Dr. Hinds believes that the Opposition can force the hands of Government by tabling “creative motions” that would leave the ruling party no other choice than to support.
“You have to turn that Parliament into a place of struggle. Kwayana, in 1985, said I am going to Parliament to plant the flag of Walter Rodney – People’s power no dictator, and that’s what these Parliamentarians in the Opposition have to do. They have to turn that Parliament into an arena of political contestation, not based on bills and the routine things but taking issues from outside of the parliament and planting them in,” the Political Scientist reasoned.
The Motion on the West Coast Berbice murders will force both the Speaker, Manzoor Nadir and the Government MPs to act, he posited. “It is a brilliant move, and it has to be followed through. You push the Parliament, and if the Parliament doesn’t want to deal with it that is good reason to then say, the Parliament has turned its back on this national issue, let us take it to be people,” Dr. Hinds posited.
The Political Scientist said while former President and Chairman of the APNU+AFC, David Granger expressed the view that certain parties within the Coalition had not raked in sufficient votes to influence the appointment of seats secured by the APNU+AFC, the coalition could have done well his service, and others like him. Dr Hinds is an Executive Member of the WPA. The alliance has since cut ties with the coalition.
“If the WPA had anything to do with Opposition politics we would turn that place upside down, because you have to be creative….I would have an alternative parliament, and we would be debating those ideas there,” he said.
Such a move, he posited would mobilise people. “What you have to do is take the Parliament to West Berbice,” Dr. Hinds further posited as he called the Opposition to action.