Trinidad and Tobago: UNC leader Kamla Persad has called on the Prime Minister to end the ‘charade’ in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), or he will be ‘tied up in court for a long time.’
UNC leader Kamla Persad stated the passing of previous Friday’s Tobago House of Assembly (Amendment) Bill by a simple majority was unlawful and would be stuck in a court of law.
Furthermore, she added, it is unconstitutional on various levels, including passage by a simple majority and the depletion of the assemblymen’s rights to wages and other means.
PM Rowley stated there would be fresh elections in a 15-seat THA to break the crisis during the UNC Monday night virtual address, ‘If you want a tie-breaker, you can have it tomorrow morning and end all this charade now,’ Persad said. End new polls. End this going back to the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC).
“PM Rowley doesn’t want a tie-breaker; he intends to gerrymander limits and to plant himself down in Tobago forever. He wants a new election to do that.
“Let the people of Tobago get the administration they voted for in terms of the THA. Let them govern their affairs.”
Kamla proposed the government use one of two options: either call another meeting for the clerk to come back in and, following the standing order, elect a presiding officer.
When this is tired to go to standing order 92, which refers to the House of Representatives reaching order 410 for drawing lots in the event of an equality of votes.
If unconvinced standing order 92 practices, she said, “Then all you have to do is bring a simple, fair amendment to the Parliament, to insert in Section 7 of the THA Act, 7(a), which says where there is an equality of vote for the election of a presiding officer, the clerk shall draw lots.
“End the song and dance. A dictatorial government must not subvert the will of the in government,” she added.
UNC leader said the Prime Minister was misinformed when he told Parliament that as TT’s CEO, he was duty-bound to ensure Tobago had an elected executive.
“Prime Minister, you cannot make the law. You cannot change the law.”
UNC leader said it was Parliament that had to alter the laws and this act required a special bulk, meaning Opposition support, not only that of PNM members.
“The EBC is a self-governing institution – or should be an independent institution.” UNC leader recalled in the outcome of the 18-18 tie in the 2001 general election and the rise the number of seats in Parliament from 36 to 41.
“You cannot mangle the term of office of the assemblymen. Those assemblymen are designated to pay from the day they were elected.”
UNC leader also accused Rowley of ‘telling a lie’ when he said the THA had been adjourned. She added it had not been fully constituted but not dissolved because only the assembly can dissolve itself. It cannot do that because there has been no compromise on electing a presiding officer.