Kamla Persad-Bissessar did what many were not expecting, she and her MPs voted unanimously with the government to ensure passage of the Civil Asset Recovery and Management and Unexplained Wealth Bill 2019.
Many anticipated that when the debate on this piece of legislation resumed in the House of Representatives, the UNC would have been voting against the provisions of this piece of legislation.
However, at committee state, the opposition leader took charge of the process, literally rewriting and single-handedly fixing a seriously flawed bill that was presented by the government.
SC Persad-Bissessar piloted more than 60 amendments to the bill, ensuring that all law-abiding citizens could only be subject to the provisions of the legislation where it was acquired and associated with the commission of specified offences in the Proceeds of Crime Act.
In so doing, she kept her solemn promise to the country, i.e., the UNC will always support good law.
She was, once again, wearing the hat of a real and capable national leader, not the political leader of any party, but preferably one who recognised that she needed to protect the rights of citizens and democracy as guaranteed in the constitution.
It was perhaps the only time the Keith Rowley-led PNM administration listened to reason and logic and accepted the changes and amendments from the former prime minister, thus clearing the way for their support, making the Civil Asset Recovery and Management and Unexplained Wealth Bill 2019 a much-improved piece of legislation.
Citizens owe Persad-Bissessar a debt of gratitude for her actions in parliament yesterday; she ensured that no government must be able to attempt to take away citizens’ rights without due process, which is enshrined in our constitution.
I remember one of her prime ministerial addresses to the nation when she said, “There is no political consideration, no personal ambition, greater than public confidence in the good governance of our nation. I will never lack the courage or willingness to forego any political gain in pursuit of the integrity demanded of all us who are called upon to serve the people.”
Thank you Kamla Persad-Bissessar for being a truly strong and national stateswoman, a person whom the entire country can trust and respect.