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Speaker stays out of deadlock in Chaguanas
“Leave me out.” That was the response of House Speaker Wade Mark yesterday when approached by reporters to comment on the Chaguanas Borough Corporation stalemate and the constitutionality of Wednesday’s suspension of the standing orders at the corporation. Mark, who was at the Rudranath Capildeo Learning Resource Centre, Couva, to deliver the feature address at the Parliament’s School Outreach Programme, declined to answer questions and brushed past reporters.
He said: “I cannot... I am the Speaker of the House that is not for me. No, no leave me out. That is for Jack Warner and them fellas and them. I cannot deal with that at all, at all. I could talk about today what happens in Parliament.” On Wednesday there was chaos when the election of Chaguanas mayor and deputy mayor came to a premature end when Independent Liberal Party (ILP) mayoral nominee, Indrawatee Maharaj, moved a motion to suspend the standing orders.
The councillors are expected to return to the corporation today. Yesterday Mark, who addressed Form Five and Six students of ASJA Girls College, Sarawati Girls’ Hindu College and Holy Faith Convent at the session on the theme Gender Affairs and Parliament, admitted as House Speaker he has observed biases in Parliament against female MPs, especially those on the Opposition bench. He made the statement in response to a question from a student.
Mark said there was no provision in the terms and conditions of the Salaries Review Commission for female opposition MPs to be compensated during and after pregnancy. While he acknowledged that as MPs they were not employed, Mark said he believed it was their right and they should enjoy the same provisions as pregnant women in the workforce. He said only two months ago Cabinet decided to allow MPs to secure medical coverage of up to $200,000 an annum.
“This is an big advance in Parliament,” he added. Mark told the students the outreach programme began in March and was aimed to encourage young people to become more interested in parliamentary procedure and to demonstrate how they could become involved in the decision-making process.
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