‘I think an urgent statement or personal explanation by the Speaker is warranted,’ said Moonilal yesterday.
Moonilal was responding to an Express report which stated that Annisette George sought to appeal to religion in dealing with Opposition Chief Whip David Lee last week Friday after she received his letter explaining the reason Moonilal had failed to deliver an apology as required by the House of Representatives.
Moonilal had been directed to apologise for his statement, ‘Da is why Snake have lead for you’, which he made in the House last year.
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar told reporters on Wednesday that a ‘very disturbing angle’ to the whole issue was the decision of the Speaker to summon Lee and to tell him, among other things, ‘I am a Catholic and you are a Catholic.’
Persad-Bissessar said when Lee left that meeting and returned to the chamber, the Speaker sent him correspondence with ‘several quotations from the Bible’. Moonilal said yesterday that the matter has been bothering him.
‘The purported exchanges between the Chief Whip and the Speaker had to do with my matter. It was not that they met at church for communion, they met as a result of my matter. It was not at a wedding or at the supermarket, so I deserve to know what was that about! At first sight this is more alarming than ‘snake have lead for you’, said in cross-talk picong. The Speaker and the Whip exchange was not parliamentary banter. The Speaker is duty-bound to explain these allegations,’ said Moonilal.
He said these words were uttered in the precincts of the Parliament so they may constitute a matter that can go before the Privilege Committee if properly constituted.
‘Frighteningly, it appears to smack of religious bigotry. I shudder to think what was meant by those two bizarre events. We should indeed be wary if decisions are made by anyone based on the concept of religious and cultural superiority. This type of thinking has led to irreparable damage to human civilisation across the planet. It is the basis of hate, violence and dictatorship. It is an attempt to defeat the human spirit. Such thought if given currency is as close as you can get to Hitler’s views on the Jews,’ said Moonilal.
He said he wanted to remind the national community that persons in public life must at all times respect religion, race and class.
STORY BY ANNA RAMDASS