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Trinidad's Indian-origin PM faces political glitch

It's been debated whether the former Indian-origin PM should return as MP.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, Port-of-spain
UPDATED ON MAR 28, 2007 04:00 PM IST

Trinidad and Tobago's first Indian-origin Prime Minister Basdeo Panday's troubles seem far from over with the parliament supporting a motion to have a high court determine if he should return as MP.

Panday attended the country's parliamentary proceedings last week after an appeals court overturned his conviction for failing to disclose a foreign bank account to authorities.

"We stand on our own individual integrity on this matter," Winston Dookeran, leader of the Congress of the People, was quoted as saying by the Trinidad Express newspaper.

Panday, the leader of the country's United National Congress (UNC), was sentenced to two years in jail, fined $60,000, and ordered to pay $1.6 million last year by a court after he was found guilty of failing to declare his Natwest Bank account in London to the Integrity Commission for the years 1997, 1998, and 1999.

After his conviction, Panday who represented Couva North, a town west-central Trinidad, ceased to perform the functions of an MP.

"We are supporting the move for his (Panday's) reinstatement, but we believe it should be done within the context of the proper procedures that's enshrined in the constitution. There must be a petition to and sanction from the high court, then it is only on that basis we will give our support," he added.

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