Opposition Leader suspended from Trinidad and Tobago Parliament for using laptop

From the Trinidad Express :

Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday has been suspended from Parliament for the remainder of the session, which can extend until December 16, 2008, House Speaker Barry Sinanan confirmed yesterday….

Panday was suspended for defying the Speaker, who ruled against the unauthorised use of laptops. Told that Panday has been using the laptop consistently over the past few months, Sinanan explained that he sent out a circular, dated February 25, reminding MPs that they must seek his permission to use electronic devices and that such use must relate to matters being discussed in the Parliament on that day. Yesterday was the first time that Sinanan was in the Chair since the circular was sent out and therefore his first opportunity to enforce it.

Explaining the ruling, Speaker asked rhetorically, “what would prevent 41 members from using laptops during the sitting? One doesn’t know if they are looking at pornography or chatting on-line”. He said May’s Parliamentary Practice very explicitly stated that MPs could not use electronic equipment as an aide-memoire when addressing the House.

Newspaper coverage about the incident :

Newsday :

Trinidad Express :

Trinidad Guardian :

Update : Caribbean Free Radio has a poll about the incident.

5 thoughts on “Opposition Leader suspended from Trinidad and Tobago Parliament for using laptop”

  1. The government seems hellbent on preventing the use of technology. Police stations are still equipped with paper registries, court proceedings are slow because of a lack of technology and organization.

    This is completely absurd.
    If Panday wants to write notes using his laptop instead of on a piece of paper – shouldn’t this be an encouraged? Why is it only ok to use a laptop if Sinanan says it is ok and not if the MP deems it appropriate? These are grown men not school children.

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