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Offline dcs

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Couva North in the House
« on: March 31, 2007, 11:45:46 PM »
Trinidad Guardian
Sunday 1st April, 2007
I will speak


Basdeo Panday

The decision of the Court of Appeal to quash the conviction and sentence in the case against the Member of Parliament for Couva North appears to have thrown the hierarchy of this PNM Government into a tail spin from which they seem unable to recover.

When they caused me to be charged for failing to declare a bank account in the joint names of my wife and me, they must have thought that that was the end of my political life. The Integrity Commission, instead of pointing out to me my error as they have done with other PNM bigwigs, rushed to have me charged. In fact, one of them is reported to have said: “We have the son of a b---h to hang.”

From all the evidence now in our possession, it is clear there was a massive conspiracy designed to send me to prison, and to remove me from Parliament and, eventually, the political scene.

Their plan backfired when they tried to kill two birds with one stone by implicating Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma in their diabolical plot. This country does not know half of the truth of what occurred in this case; you have seen merely the tip of the huge iceberg of corruption, lies, deceit, threats and intimidation that went into the making of this conspiracy, which all began to unfurl when Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls refused to testify and be cross-examined on his allegations against the Chief Justice.

The conspiracy intensified during the period March 24, 2006—when the evidence in my matter was completed—and April 24, 2006, the date set by the Chief Magistrate for decision.

When, on April 24, the Chief Magistrate delivered his decision in which he sentenced me to two years’ imprisonment with hard labour, President George Maxwell Richards broke all records for administrative speed, if not accuracy, by having me removed from my seat in the House in less than 36 hours.

There is no record of him having acted with such speed in the performance of his official duties neither before nor since. It is as if they knew what the sentence was going to be long before it was passed and had all the papers for my removal prepared well in advance.

As a consequence, I remained out of the House for some 11 months, during which time my constituents were deprived of their constitutional and democratic right to be represented in the Parliament by the representative of their choice.

On March 20, 2007, the Court of Appeal set aside the conviction and sentence on the ground of bias on the part of the Magistrate. The effect of that decision was to render the conviction and sentence of the Chief Magistrate null, void and of no effect ab initio—ie, from the beginning; it is as if it had never occurred.

It is trite law that, in such circumstances, all acts and things done in pursuance of the Chief Magistrate’s conviction and sentence were also rendered null and void and of no effect, and that would have included my removal from Parliament.

A similar case occurred in England (Attorney General vs Jones) and the court held that the MP was entitled to resume her seat in Parliament after the Court of Appeal quashed her conviction and sentence. The PNM’s plan to silence me forever appeared to be falling apart.

When I learnt that there would be a sitting of the House on the following day, March 21, I was advised by my lawyers that it would be lawful for me to attend and take my seat and it was so reported in the media.

Just before the sitting of the House, the Speaker phoned and asked to see me; we met. He told me he had seen in the newspapers that I had intended to attend the sitting of the House, to which I answered in the affirmative.

He said he would let me sit in House but I must not speak. I told him that that was totally unacceptable to me as it would be tantamount to betraying my constituents.

He then asked me if I would agree not to speak during the debate on the Equal Opportunity Bill, which was then before the House. I told him I could not give that undertaking but I would undertake not to speak on that day (Wednesday) as I had not got a copy of the new bill and was not fully prepared to participate in the debate at that time.

I took my seat in the House and the debate on the Equal Opportunity Bill began.

Much to my surprise, soon after the tea break, the Government suddenly adjourned the House to a date to be fixed.

The reason given by the Leader of Government Business, Mr Ken Valley, for adjourning the House to a date to be fixed was that members on the Government side had to go to a dinner that evening; that the following Friday was cricket; that Friday, March 30 was a public holiday; that the following Friday was Good Friday. Hence, it was not possible to adjourn the House to a fixed date. All this turned out to be false, of course.

In fact, on Friday, March 23, Members of Parliament were informed that the House would be meeting to pass a motion to ask the Court whether I should be allowed to take my seat in Parliament.

The Speaker refused to allow debate on the motion and Winston Dookeran and others members of the COP voted with the PNM to send the matter to the Court. Mr Valley again adjourned the House to date to be fixed.

But behold! Surprise! Surprise! The PNM convened the House again on Wednesday under the pretence of continuing the debate on the Equal Opportunity Bill.

Instead of debating this Bill, the Government moved another motion to send the matter to court; the sitting lasted about 15 minutes and the House was again adjourned to a date to be fixed.

Now, if this is not a waste of Parliamentary time, I do not know what is. But, worse, it is a demonstration of the most callous exercise of raw power—an ominous indication of an entry into parliamentary dictatorship, the dictatorship of the majority.

To the unsuspecting, it must be a source of great amazement that the PNM should be so terrified of my presence in Parliament that they would go to such lengths to close its doors in my face.

But you must remember that this is an election year; the PNM’s performance has been atrocious; it has not done at all well during its term in office; and the UNC under my leadership has been the only political party single-handedly to beat the PNM at the polls, not only once but twice.

That must be a terrifying thought for a regime that has been so corrupt, inefficient, incompetent, malicious and spiteful that it is mortally afraid to find itself in the Opposition. With nothing to show for the expenditure of over one hundred billion dollars in the past five years, they will do anything to stay in power and office.

How can they explain such an expenditure to the thousands of our citizens who are still without a regular supply of pipe-borne drinking water or proper roads?

The hundreds of families whose husbands, fathers, mothers, brothers or sisters have been brutally murdered or raped?

The thousands of businessmen and ordinary citizens who have been robbed?

The thousands who must endure each day the most frustrating traffic jams this country has ever seen?

The 30 per cent of the population who still live below the poverty line?

They cannot. And, since they cannot, then the only way out is to jail and/or otherwise victimise their political opponents, real or perceived.

There you have it!
« Last Edit: April 08, 2007, 12:03:11 AM by dcs »

Offline dcs

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Couva North in the House
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2007, 12:02:24 AM »
Trinidad Guardian
Sunday 8th April, 2007
Ominous signs on the horizon


Basdeo Panday

Prime Minister Patrick Manning’s revelations in his speech to the International Conference of the National Association for the Empowerment of African People on the March 31, must have come as a shock to some; to others it was but a confirmation of a tendency noticeable for some time now: a megalomaniacal delusion of his ambitions on power.

Mr Manning is reported to have said that under the present Constitution, the President has too much power and cites as an example the 1995 declaration of a partial state of emergency limited to the residence of the then Speaker, Ocah Seapaul, and her eventual house arrest. What seems to have galled him was the number and nature of the question the then Acting President, Emmanuel Carter, had the temerity to ask him before declaring the state of emergency he (Manning) was requesting. To quote Mr Manning’s own words:

“I began to realise that if he did not want to declare a state of emergency, he did not have to, and nobody could do anything about it. The President, as it stands, is subject to no law…The President is in a position to frustrate the will of the elected authorities if he so wishes. In Trinidad and Tobago, not only is such interference possible, it is very likely. On that ground, and that ground alone, the Constitution needs reviewing.”

What a curious reason for wanting constitutional reform! Even with the most favourable interpretation possible that statement is frightening. The Constitution of our country enshrines certain fundamental rights and freedoms to which every citizen/resident is entitled and provides that these fundamental rights and freedoms shall not be taken away (particularly by the Government) except in very exceptional circumstances of emergency, such as war, insurrections, natural disasters, danger to the population, etc.

Recognising that the political directorate (ie the Government in power for the time being) may be tempted to abuse this provision by using it to perpetuate itself in power, the framers of the Constitution decided to put a check on them by providing that only the President can declare a State of Emergency and before he can do that he must be satisfied that circumstances exist that warrant the need for a state of emergency.

It follows then that if the Prime Minister goes to the President and asks him to declare a State of Emergency the President is entitled to ask him: Why do you want to suspend the people’s fundamental rights and freedoms? What are the circumstances that require such a drastic move? Where is the danger to the people?

Absolute control

Manning objects to such questions by the President. As far as he is concerned the President should not have any right to ask him any questions but should automatically concede to his demand for a State of Emergency as and when he (Manning) decides that there should be one.

He regards the President’s questions as an “interference” on his use of absolute power in imposing a State of Emergency on the people at his whim and fancy. He is reckless enough to advocate that the Constitution should be reviewed to remove this interference, if for no other reason.

But Mr Manning does not stop there! He went on in the same speech to lament the fact that he does not have absolute control over the armed forces. He said that he was informed by a certain Chief of Defence Staff that the nation’s armed forces would obey the orders of the President, rather than the Prime Minister, if the two gave conflicting instructions. That is of grave concern to him. He thinks he should be in absolute control.

The Constitution provides that the President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Mr Manning does not like that provision. If he had his way he would change the Constitution to put the Armed Forces under his total and absolute control. Megalomania may not be the ailment here; it may be worse than that. In any case, we have been warned.

A political exercise

There can be no doubt that our present Constitution is substantially the same as it was when drafted in 1962, some 45 years ago. The 1976 Republican Constitution was merely a change of form, not of substance. The present Constitution is in dire need of reform. It was no doubt relevant to the times when it came into being, but since then much social and economic waters have flowed beneath the political bridge; the society today is quite different from what it was in 1962; it has new fears, higher hopes and greater aspirations, which the 1962 Constitution never anticipated. Simply put, a national Constitution is a set of rules by which a people agree that the society shall be run.

Its purpose and objective should be to promote the welfare and happiness of the citizens; to deal with and resolve their problems and to conduce to the growth and development of the society and the people. It is clear that the present constitution is not doing that and hence the need for constitutional reform is urgent.

To ensure the success of any exercise in constitutional reform it is extremely important how we proceed. Process is very important. The worst approach is to appoint one or more lawyers and simply ask him/her/them to produce a draft of a new constitution, which is then taken to the population for comment.

In the first place the audience would not have seen or read a copy of the draft document before the so called “consultation” and, even if they did the chances are they will not understand the legalese in which the document is written; even some lawyers do not.

Constitutional reform is not a legal exercise and cannot be done by lawyers; it is a political exercise and must be done politically by the final arbiters in all political matters…the people and their elected representatives. But to simply go to the people and ask them to produce a draft would be an exercise not only in futility but one in absurdity.

The farmer, the taxi driver, the construction worker cannot tell you what a new constitution should contain but they sure as hell know more than anyone else the problems they face from day to day; they know the obstacles that stand in their way to a happier life. The first step, therefore, in any exercise in constitutional reform is to go to the people and ask them what are the problems and frustrations that confront them in everyday living and what they perceive to be the solutions to those problems and frustrations.

Life blood of a constitution

For example, most people believe that the greatest problem facing the country today is escalating crime and the Government’s inability to accept responsibility or to deal with it. They are frustrated that no one seems to know who is responsible for dealing with the problem. The Constitution should clearly provide for responsibility and sanctions against those who fail in their duty.

If they tell you that management is lacking and recruitment is based on nepotism and cronyism then the answer has got to be a provision in the Constitution that ensures a meritocracy. The people may tell you that racism and other forms of discrimination, marginalisation and alienation divide the society and so debilitates our most valuable resource…our human resource and so prevent us from moving forward.

The Constitution will then have to deal with that problem by instituting rules and institutions to ensure that such heinous practices are discouraged and punished. They will ask why after an expenditure of over $100 billion in five years they are still without water, roads; why food prices are so high when we have so much agricultural lands going to waste? And they will give you the reasons why they think this is so. They will also give you answers as to what they think ought to be done. This will form the life blood of a new constitution.

The people are not stupid; you will be surprised to discover how much they know of their society and how much they know of how these problems can be resolved.

The Ellis Clarke Draft

This is the only meaningful kind of consultation there can be with the people, and refusal to recognise this simple fact explains the recent fiasco and failure of the consultation on the Ellis Clarke Draft.

Having got the views of the people the politicians must come together and, taking the views of the people with their own knowledge and experience, come up with suggestions of the measures that must be taken to solve the people’s problems and advance their welfare and the welfare of the society as a whole.

These suggestions will constitute the brief that shall then be handed to the lawyers with instructions to reduce such ideas to legal form and language. And that shall be the basis of a new Constitution for the country.

Next week, if I, and this column, are still alive, I shall tell you what my own thoughts are on what a reformed constitution should look like. That promise is, of course, based on the assumption that Mr Manning and/or the PNM/ and/or the Attorney General and/or the Chief Magistrate will not do something stupid during the week so forcing me to divert my attention to comment on their shenanigans instead of keeping to my original plan.

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited
« Last Edit: April 08, 2007, 12:04:29 AM by dcs »

Offline dcs

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Re: Couva North in the House
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2007, 12:39:00 AM »
People final of arbiters reform
Trinidad Guardian
Sunday 15th April, 2007


Basdeo Panday

LAST WEEK, I promised readers that unless sidetracked by something inane the PNM was bound to do during the week (to which I may be tempted to respond), I would state some of my views on constitution reform in this column.

I am sorely tempted to comment on the decision to spend $148 million on a new home for a prime minister (who may never occupy it), and the last-minute election dash of $800 million to fix the long-suffering roads.

But I must resist the temptation, keep to my word and stick to the Constitution.

Simply put, a constitution is a system, often codified as a written document that establishes the rules and principles that govern an organisation or political entity.

In the case of countries, this term refers specifically to a national constitution defining the fundamental political principles, and establishing the structure, procedures, powers and duties of a government.

Most national constitutions also guarantee certain fundamental rights and freedoms to the people.

Since I believe the purpose of human existence is human happiness, I am of the view that a constitution must go further: it must contain provisions and provide for institutions that conduce to the happiness, well-being and development of the people in every aspect of their lives.

It is then the function of the government to so organise and use the resources of the State to bring about the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people.

The constitution must be in the nature of living organism, changing to meet the changing demands, needs, hopes and aspirations of a developing people.

Cosmetic changes

For the sake of continuity, forgive me for repeating some of what I said last week. Our constitution is 45 years old, formulated in 1962 when things were different.

The change to a republican constitution in1975 was merely cosmetic, dealing with form while leaving the substance unchanged.

The country and the people have moved a long way since 1962, and the constitution is crying out for change to meet the changing needs, hopes and aspirations of the people and the nation.

The big question is: how do we proceed to effect meaningful reform of the constitution under which we now live. Success or failure will depend on the process by which we move to reform the constitution.

The worst method to adopt is the legal approach of taking the old constitution and handing it to lawyers, telling them to reform the constitution without giving them specific instructions as to what kind of constitution we are trying to achieve.

This is what Prime Minister Patrick Manning did to the hapless Sir Ellis. I am surprised he fell for it.

Constitution reform is not a legal matter to be dealt with by lawyers; it is a political matter to be dealt with by the final arbiters in all political matters—the people—and their lawfully-elected political representatives.

The big question is how do we approach the people, especially the masses of the ordinary people, in this exercise? Certainly not by asking them to produce a draft and submit it to the government, or by asking them to tell you how to amend the Constitution.

Or, worse still, by calling a consultation to discuss a draft prepared by the lawyers. In nine out of ten times the ordinary people would not have read the draft, or, even if they did, they would hardly be in a position to understand the legalese in which such documents are written.

What we do know, however, is that the people are familiar with, and know very well, the problems, frustrations and difficulties they face from day to day in their lives.

Unlike the politicians, they are not consumed with politics, but with their lives and the problems of daily living. If you ask them what their problems are, they will tell you, and the answers to their problems will then form the basis of the reformed constitution.

For example, suppose the people tell you that one of their problems is that once the parliamentary representative is chosen and enters the Parliament or the regional corporations, he/she turns his/her back on his constituents, or even on the party that put him/her in office.

If you persist, they may even give you the answer. The answer may well be to introduce in the Constitution the right of recall.

Should the people indicate that they do not want to vote for any one of the existing political parties, but would still like their voices to be heard in the political decision-making process, then this problem could be resolved by introducing in the Constitution a system of proportional representation that would allow smaller interest groups to be represented in the Parliament.

If discrimination is a problem for the people, then the Constitution should include mechanisms to discourage such action. I can go on and on, but I am sure you have got the idea.

Keep asking the people, and they will give you a clue to their problems and the possible solutions, which must form the basis of any constitutional reform.

Executive president

One of the complaints of the people has been that the executive or political directorate has too much uncontrolled power. What is the answer?

I am in favour of an executive president, but s/he must be truly and democratically-elected by the people on the basis of one man/woman-one-vote.

The president, having been thus democratically-elected, would be entitled to select his Cabinet from the best people in the country, not necessarily from Members of Parliament.

The president and his Cabinet would then prepare an annual budget containing proposals and expenditure for the ensuing year, which s/he must take to the Parliament for approval.

It follows that the president will have no power to do anything unless he gets parliamentary approval and funding, the power for which will rest with the Parliament.

If, for example, his proposals discriminate against certain sections of the population, he will not get the support of their representatives in the Parliament unless he can pacify them by amending his budget proposals.

This would certainly curtail the power of the president and put real power in the hands of the people’s representative. In order to ensure that as many interest groups in the society have a say in this exercise, the Parliament will have to be differently-constituted.


I do not believe there is need for a bicameral Parliament in so small a country as Trinidad and Tobago, with a population of a mere 1.3 million people.

I believe we ended up with a Senate in the first place because we were copying as closely as possible the British model of Parliament, which included a House of Lords.

I suspect that there are many in our country who believe they should be in Parliament, not because they represent anything or anybody, but because of their “lordliness.”

I would advocate a unicameral Parliament consisting of a larger House of Representatives of between 90 and 100 members, elected on the basis of proportional representation.

The present crop of independent senators would then have an opportunity to represent somebody, but not before they face the polls.

The purpose of having a Parliament constituted in this way offers many benefits. In a highly plural and diverse society such as ours, the representatives of more and diverse interest groups will be represented in Parliament, and will have the opportunity of having their input in the political decision-making process.

What could be more democratic in a society such as ours?

Mr Manning has argued that proportional representation will exacerbate the racial divisions in the political society. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the contrary is true.

Under the present electoral system of first-past-the-post single member constituencies, the result can be quite undemocratic.

Because of our historical antecedents of political parties being generally supported by the two major racial groups in the society, the political spectrum in this country has demonstrated over and over that it can and will contain only two major political parties, with the smaller ones being unable to get any seats under the present electoral system.

One recalls the fate of the Organisation for National Reconstruction in the 1981 general election, when that party got 90,000 votes but did not win a single seat in the House of Representatives, while the United Labour Front, which got some 85,000 votes, got ten seats.

The system disenfranchised 90,000 of our citizens; what could be more undemocratic than that! Why should people who do not wish to vote for either of the two major political parties not have the right to be represented by another party of their choice?

Proportional representation

On the issue of proportional representation, former Prime Minister, the late Dr Eric Williams, was more candid than his successor, when he said proportional representation was a dagger aimed at the heart of the PNM.

It is a pity that he chose to put the survival of the PNM before that of the nation and its people.

With the timorous rejection of proportional representation by Mr Manning, PNM history is now repeating itself. The truth is that proportional representation would break the racial stranglehold on the politics of T&T, and that is the one thing the PNM does not want to happen, because it knows that its survival depends on the politico-racial cleavages in the society.

A second reason why a larger House of Representatives elected on the basis of proportional representation would be beneficial to the country would be the members’ greater ability to monitor the activities of the government in power.

At the present time, there are 36 members in the House, more than half of whom belong to the government. It is not possible for the rest of the elected representatives, who are in opposition to the government, to monitor the activities of the government with an annual budget of more than $40 billion with the several sparsely-populated House Committees that now exist.

Such an expanded House would be able to establish new House Committees to monitor the activities of the president, particularly his power of appointment of persons to high office, such as the judiciary, the Commissioner of Police, the chairman and members of the Integrity Commission, the members of the Public Service and other commissions, other State enterprises, and so on.

There should be a House Investigating Committee to inquire into any allegations against the government, or any other member, for that matter.

Such a system would go a long way to the establishment of a meritocracy in the Public Service generally.

There are, of course, much more to a reformed constitution. These are just a few thoughts that should provoke some discussion on so important a subject.
©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited


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Re: Couva North in the House
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2007, 09:43:35 AM »
steups...for a better read check this:

                  Basdeo aka Anansi

Offline Pro-Jayz

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Re: Couva North in the House
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2007, 06:44:32 AM »
Police block Bas from entering Parliament
Juhel Browne

Saturday, April 21st 2007

Police found themselves in a showdown with former Couva North MP Basdeo Panday when they blocked him from attending Parliament proceedings at the Red House yesterday.

Acting on instructions from House Speaker Barendra Sinanan, Senior Supt James Philbert led the police contingent by standing in the gateway at the public entrance of the Red House in Port of Spain where Panday sought to enter.

The showdown did not result in any physical altercation, however, as both Philbert and Panday used tact and humour while they stood their ground for about an hour.

As the situation unfolded outside, Sinanan announced at the start of the sitting in the Parliament Chamber that he had advised Panday that the Couva North seat will continue to remain vacant until the High Court rules on the matter.

"And, therefore, the Chair cannot permit him to sit among the members of the House of Representatives and participate in the proceedings of this honourable House. Mr Panday has indicated to me a clear intention to defy the authority of the Chair of this House," Sinanan said.

He said as the guardian of the rights and privileges of the House, he took steps to ensure that there is no disruption of its proceedings.

Surrounded by United National Congress MPs, including Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and accompanied by his daughter Mickela and a small group of supporters, Panday tried to enter the public entrance before the Lower House sitting began at 1.30 p.m.

Panday told reporters he was only seeking to sit in the public gallery.

"The Speaker indicated to me that he was going to block my entrance into the Parliament even though I was going to sit in the public gallery," Panday said.

"So he wouldn't let me into the Parliament because I am not a Member of Parliament and he won't let me into the public gallery because I am not a member of the public. That's the only rational conclusion I can come to."

Panday said he told Sinanan that his lawyers advised he had a right to return to the Parliament since his conviction and sentence last year on charges of failing to declare a London bank account had been quashed by the Appeal Court.

A retrial has been ordered and Panday remains out on bail but he asserted he is innocent until proven guilty.

He seemed set on staying for a long haul outside the Red House but at 2 p.m. eight heavily armed Guard and Emergency Branch officers emerged from within the Red House and peacefully ordered some 20-30 Panday's supporters to "move across the road" as they began to loudly chant, "Panday, Panday".

Panday said, "It is clear that the police were sent to brutalise these people and in order to prevent them from being brutalised I will save them by leaving here."

He then left the Red House in his SUV at 2.05 p.m.
only born in Santa Cruz BUT RAISED IN SAN dont get tied up!...I FROM SOUTH!

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Re: Couva North in the House
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2007, 07:21:49 AM »
Panday: I do not want confrontation
Juhel Browne and Darren Bahaw

Thursday, April 26th 2007


Former Couva North MP Basdeo Panday decided not to make another attempt to attend a Parliament sitting yesterday, having been blocked from entering the public entrance of the Red House last Friday.

Panday said yesterday he decided not to do so again because he wanted to avoid a confrontation between his supporters and the police.

A contingent of police similar to that which blocked Panday on Friday was at the public entrance of the Red House yesterday, as the House of Representatives held its sitting.

"In battle you must never fight the enemy on their strong ground. You fight them in their weakest ground....I must take my battle to another level which is to the people and the streets. A series of activities are being planned," Panday said in an interview.

He disclosed no details.

House Speaker Barendra Sinanan has banned Panday from attending any Parliament sittings at the Red House until the High Court has ruled on the vacancy of the Couva North seat.

Panday said he received a High Court notice concerning the vacancy of his former seat yesterday.

The Express has also learnt that the Director of Public Prosecutions, Geoffrey Henderson, has written the Magistrate's Court Clerk of the Peace, Eugene Prince, seeking to have Panday's trial on charges of failing to declare a London bank account relisted.

The status hearing for the matter filed by the Parliament to the High Court, seeking a determination of the vacancy of the Couva North seat, will be heard on May 1 before Justice Charmaine Pemberton at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain.

"My lawyers were served with what is called an application to fix the date for not the hearing of the matter but how the matter will proceed," Panday said.

Panday has been seeking to return to the House of Representatives as the Couva North MP, since the Appeal Court on March 20 quashed his conviction and sentence handed down by Chief Magistrate Sherman McNicolls last year on failing to declare a London bank account from 1995-1997.

The Appeal Court had ruled a retrial of the case.

The Express understands Henderson wrote Prince two weeks ago but has not yet received a response.
only born in Santa Cruz BUT RAISED IN SAN dont get tied up!...I FROM SOUTH!


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