NOT even the Senate could have sat yesterday.
Nobody from the Opposition bench and two Independent senators were present.
A lot of the senators are from Central and South and were trapped in the traffic created by the various protests in parts of the East-West Corridor, which made getting to Port of Spain a serious challenge.
Although there were enough members to form a quorum (which consists of ten members), the Government took the decision not to proceed with the sitting, in view of the fact that members from the other benches would have had difficulty reaching the Red House in Port of Spain.
At the start of the sitting, Senate President Christine Kangaloo stated:
“Honourable Senators, because of the absence of some many of our fellow senators from the various benches, I have directed the Clerk that all items under ‘Papers’ and ‘Questions to Ministers’ would be deferred to another sitting.”
Government leader Franklin Khan then rose to move a motion to have the Senate adjourned to tomorrow at 2.30 p.m.
He said at that time the Senate would do the Committee stage of the Regional and Urban Planning Professionals bill, what was originally planned for yesterday.
The motion was put and carried.
Minority Leader Wade Mark said he was on his way to Parliament when he received a call from Clerk of the Senate Brian Caesar.
Caesar informed him he was in discussions with the Senate President, and that there was unlikely to be a sitting in the fullest sense of the word, that the Senate would simply convene and adjourn because of the circumstances of senators not being able to get to Port of Spain.
He said he spoke with Senator Clarence Rambharat, who confirmed the Senate would be adjourned to tomorrow at 2.30 p.m.
Solutions for young people needed
Mark said the UNC has three senators coming from South, one from Central, one from Caparo and himself from Valsayn.
“The rest of them were getting some difficulty. Khadijah (Ameen) was on her way down and she had to turn back because of a fire (burning of debris) at Maloney which had blocked the road.
“The traffic was very terrible,” he said.
Senator Taharqa Obika who lives in Point Fortin, said he had been told by a number of friends about the difficulty of getting into Port of Spain.
He said his mother, who was in Port of Spain and could not get out because of the protests, told him to be very careful about venturing into the city.
He said he got as far as Curepe when he realised that going forward could put him at some risk. Obika stayed in Curepe as things did not improve and he was only able to leave Curepe to return home to Point Fortin around 5 o’clock.
“What is clear is that solutions are needed for youth in these communities. What are the pathways to progress for them and the options for them?
“Unless the conversation gets there and the policy making focuses on that, and unless Government initiatives get these things to the fore, what we are seeing is just the beginning.
“We need to get solutions for these young people with pathways to what they would consider to be successful lives, with peace and justice being two of the things that they would be concerned about,” he said.