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NY Senate Leader With Caribbean Roots VowTo Fight Coup

CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. June 11, 2009: Democratic New York State Senator, Malcolm Smith, whose roots trace back to Jamaica, was elected to a two year term pursuant to a resolution passed by a majority of senators in January 2009. But this week, Republican senators seized control of the Senate, paralyzing the Capitol and essentially ousting Smith as majority leader.

But the Queens lawmaker yesterday said he would fight back, even as Governor David Patterson, another lawmaker with Caribbean roots, urged Democrats to unlock the chamber`s 15-foot brass gates and return to the `people`s business.`

Instead of heeding Patterson, Smith, through his spokesperson, said `the purported coup was an unlawful violation of New York State law and the Senate rules and we do not accept it.`

He said while the senate majority leader is fully prepared to go back to the people`s work, he will not enter the chamber to be governed by unlawful rules.

`We plan to file an action for a temporary injunction to enjoin the Republicans from illegitimately usurping authority from the people of New York,` said Austin Shafran, spokesman for Smith.

The injunction was filed yesterday afternoon in state Supreme Court in Albany County.

For his part Governor Patterson is condemning the political drama that seems almost childish to be real. `Once again, Albany`s dysfunction has raised its ugly head,` the governor said yesterday. `This is despicable.`

The ousted Democrats had been in power for only six months, after 40 years in the minority. The Republicans were able to oust them with two Democratic senators joining their side in a surprise move and are now vowing to convene in a park outside the state Capitol if necessary. Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Sen. Hiram Monserrate of Queens handed the Republicans the ticket they needed. The Republicans for their part installed Espada as the new Senate president even though he owes tens thousands of dollars in fines for election law violations and is under investigation over the health care clinics he operates.

But the Republican State Party says `the new majority coalition will empower the Latino community in this state and begin to fulfill promises made to them by the previous Democrat leadership.`

`Senator Espada, Senator Monserrate and others believe they and the more than 3 million Latinos in this state deserve greater recognition and representation in the Senate and that by joining in a coalition government with our Republican Conference we can fulfill the promises of reform, change and empowerment,` the statement added.