The United National Congress is denying claims of a rift within its ranks.
This after Member of Parliament for Chaguanas West, Ganga Singh voted with the Government for the passage of the pension clause of the Miscellaneous Provisions Bill.
At the committee stage of the bill, Mr Singh voted against party lines for the clause which will see a hike in pension for former parliamentarians.
In a subsequent press release, Mr Singh said the pensions’ clause addresses the small pensions given to a limited group of former legislators and judges, some of which he knew personally and whose lives “have become extremely difficult because of the small amount they now receive.”
He noted that the hike was also proposed under the People’s Partnership administration.
Mr Singh added that that he believes he should not to simply use his vote and voice for politics, but for the good of a nation that will carry on after us.
Barataria/San Juan MP, Dr Fuad Khan, who left the Parliament before the vote could be taken, has since also voiced agreement with Mr Singh’s position.
He is calling for constitutional reform as he laments the general unwillingness of Parliamentarians to vote against party lines.
Speaking on the Power Breakfast Show on Power 102 FM on Monday, Dr Khan explained that Mr Singh was well intentioned in his actions.
Dr Khan added that collective responsibility in parliament often took precedent over individual thoughts and beliefs.
He claimed, however, that politicians often vote with their leader, along party lines, regardless of how flawed the reasoning behind the party’s position may be.
He called on persons to consider this before condemning Mr Singh’s actions.
No Rift Within UNC
However, UNC Public Relations Officer, Anita Haynes, says this is not an indication of any rift within the party.
She maintains that it is instead a sign that democracy is alive and well in the party.
In a television interview, she said that Mr Singh’s decision is not a major worry for the party.
Ms Haynes denied that the UNC was opposing the bill just for opposition sake.
She explained the reason behind the opposition not supporting the clause was because others in the party believed that the timing was not right given the hardships being experienced by the public.