FEBRUARY 3 2022
Bridgid Annisette-George – the worst AG and the worst Speaker in TTs history. Annisette-George was the AG when “illegal”
Legal Notice 103 became law. She is now destroying a generation of young parliamentarians by her conduct.
It was former Attorney General Bridgid Annisette-George who presided as AG over the now infamous Legal Notice 103 of 2009 (dated May 15th, 2009) declared ultra vires the Constitution by Justice Kangaloo. It came up during last Friday’s annulment motion of Legal Notices 277 and 278.
Annisette-George was fully aware that she was culpable in the legislative disaster and seemingly wanted little or no discussion of Legal Notice 103 or any which preceded the two Legal Notices under discussion.
A more morally scrupulous Speaker would have recused herself from the discussion given her not insignificant antecedent involvement in the Notices before the House.
Not Bridgid Annisette-George.
“Stick to the two Legal Notices under review” she thundered in angered tones as she endeavoured to constrain the debate to the perceived benefit of her party the PNM and her beloved Dr Keith Cristopher Rowley with whom both she and her husband share a close personal relationship. Her interpretation of Standing Orders seemed designed to benefit the PNM.
Standing Order 48 (6) for example states: “No member shall impute improper motive to any member of either House.” Obviously, that requires a named or specific MP to be the target of comments by UNC members.
Annisette-George was continuously admonishing UNC MPs when general statements were made against the PNM Government bench – not specific members of her beloved PNM. Really, Bridget?
Worse, she appeared repeatedly to allow PNM speakers more liberal interpretations of Standing Orders.
Even worse, Annisette-George operates like a keen, highly motivated and garrulous PNM MP in the House – raising Standing Orders against UNC members on her own accord in angered tones even when PNM members refused or did not see the need for so doing.
Unfortunately, TTs Lower House debates have now degenerated into a closely constrained PNM classroom that is boring, irrelevant, highly supervised and reflective of what occurred in primary schools of yesteryear – complete with an old-time, autocratic school mistress.
I feel sorry for the new UNC MPs whom Annisette-George literally terrorizes instead of trying to mentor and encourage . She enjoys her bullying – something she must have learned from Keith Christopher Rowley – her revered leader.
An entire generation of MPs will have stunted oral presentation skills because of Annisette-George and her weekly antics of incessantly inserting herself in debates and restrictive interpretation of SOs.
Her conduct during debates is unbecoming of someone holding such high office.
Yes, we understand that her husband and herself are major beneficiaries of Rowley’s patronage.
Yes, we know she must be partial to the PNM.
But Lord, not so obvious; at least pretend to be impartial and professional as her predecessors.
Under Speaker Annisette-George, listening and viewing the Parliamentary Channel have become most unpleasant. Absolutely no respect is accorded the official Opposition which represents over 310,000 voters in the country.
Citizens now have an opportunity to view and compare the uninterrupted debates in the Canadian and British House of Commons and even the US Congress.
Madam Speaker needs to stop playing politics with the Standing Orders and accepted Westminster Parliamentary procedures. Annisette-George has made TT’s House of Representatives the most partisan, the most chaotic and acrimonious place for the Peoples’ representatives to conduct the nation’s business.
I dearly hope that the Speaker matures and tries to increase confidence in our political processes. It is not too late for Annisette-George to understand that her role is to moderate debates, rule on procedures and ensure that the rights and privileges of every MP are respected and protected.
But after six years, that may be asking too much of her!