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Back row House seat for new MP
Incoming St Joseph People’s National Movement (PNM) MP Terrence Deyalsingh will be sitting on the back row—behind PNM whip Marlene McDonald—when the House of Representatives resumes, possibly this Friday, PNM officials said yesterday. Deyalsingh, a former PNM senator who won the St Joseph seat in Monday’s by-election, will now move from the Upper to the Lower House, increasing the PNM’s 12 seats to 13.
Yesterday, United National Congress (UNC) deputy leader Suruj Rambachan said he believed the House would resume after its lengthy break by Friday, since Deyalsingh had to be sworn in. Rambachan, who said he was uncertain if it actually would resume then, said Government would know by today if it will. Calls to House Leader Roodal Moonilal were not returned yesterday. The PNM’s Colm Imbert said he expected the Lower House to resume on Friday.
He said Deyalsingh would be placed on the back bench behind the PNM front row, some distance from Independent Liberal party (ILP) leader Jack Warner, unless the leadership had a contrary idea. PNM chairman Franklin Khan said the seating would be arranged by the PNM whip and leadership. McDonald later said Deyalsingh would sit behind her. His seat will be several seats up the row from where former St Joseph MP Herbert Volney sat next to Warner.
Yesterday, other PNM officials also hinted that several names are in the pot on who would replace Deyalsingh, who, they noted, was of East Indian descent and whose absence called for a similar replacement in the Senate. Khan said a Senate replacement would also be dealt with by the leadership in “due course.” Deyalsingh didn’t answer calls yesterday when the T&T Guardian tried to contact him about his post-election views, plans for his tenure in the Lower House and how he would represent his constituency while in Opposition.
Also yesterday, Deyalsingh’s predecessor Volney, who recently joined the ILP, said he thought Deyalsingh would do his best. Asked if Deyalsingh would be a better MP than the other candidates he beat, Volney said that was to invite conjecture. Volney said he would no longer be active in politics, “including with the ILP or nobody,” and would focus on trying to rebuild his life. “Politics makes more enemies than friends,” he added. A former High Court judge, Volney recently started working as a building contractor.
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