Apology or suspension?
UNC MP Roodal had a host of consultations going on yesterday on whether he should apologise at today's Parliament sitting and how his constituency might fare if he does not apologise and is suspended from Parliament.
Moonilal added on Thurday evening, "There are a number of implications either way - if I apologise or not - therefore I have to consult people especially my constituents who supported me in my recent court case on the Privileges Committee matter."
His constituents were the latest group he's been consulting. This, after Government votes in Parliament on Wednesday, approved a Privileges Committee report which called for Moonilal to apologise for alleged "threatening remarks" he made to PNM MP Fitzgerald Hinds on October 10, 2018. It's alleged Moonilal in Budget cross-talk told Hinds "That's why Snake have lead for you."
The Privileges Committee felt Moonilal committed contempt of Parliament and uttered "threatening" words. The Opposition UNC voted against the report which called for him to apologise to Hinds and the Parliament via personal explanation, at the next sitting.
Sources said no alternative sanction was presented in the report in the event Moonilal does not apologise. But if he does not, they added he could either be suspended or he could be ignored when he attempts to make a future contribution in Parliament.
Moonilal on Wednesday said while he had no difficulty apologising to anyone - and may well do so - he would have to consult his legal team as there could be legal ramifications from an apology because he still had the court case on the Privileges Committee.
Moonilal had sought legal action contending the Privileges Committee was improperly constituted and any report would have been flawed and could not have been debated by Parliament.
The court on Wednesday allowed debate.
The court meets on July 8 on the composition of the Privileges team.
Consequently, Moonilal says his decision on whether to apologise, is a serious one. But he hinted, "I'm prepared to sacrifice my political life to defend the Constitution which I took an oath to uphold."
"So I have to be guided by my constituency members since if we take a decision that leads to suspension, the area will be without representation. I'm also meeting my legal team, discussing the issue with my political leader, a team of elders and finally my constituency executive."
He repeated that if he accepted the report, that would indicate he was validating it and he might as well withdraw his court matter. He said he might have to find a way to apologise in the context of not accepting the report as this may impair his case.
PNM officials said they did not see that an apology could affect Moonilal's case since, under the Constitution, the court has no bearing on Parliament procedures since Parliament alone is in charge of its matters.
Reporter: Gail Alexander