Equality between the islands and the right of Tobagonians to determine their political, economic, social, and cultural development are among the areas of focus for Tobago’s Self-Government.
Prior to the submission of the bill by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) to Parliament in 2018, the draft was extensively reviewed in Tobago. During this process, Tobago stakeholders were engaged in a series of consultations to hear their views and to ensure the bill fully provides for the governance and developmental needs of Tobagonians.
Presently, the Committee is seeking feedback from members of the public on its preliminary findings and proposals. The Committee is proposing that the Self Government Bill 2020 be revised and divided into two (2) Bills, namely, The Constitution Amendment (Tobago Self-Government) Bill, 2021 and The Tobago Island Government Bill, 2021 as a companion. In this regard, the Constitution Amendment (Tobago Self Government) Bill, 2021, seeks to amend the Constitution in order to grant internal self –government to Tobago.
Part of the Committee’s proposals allows for a Tobago Executive Council headed by a Primier; an Office of the Assembly Legislature; an Office of the Premier; and an Office of the Secretary of Legal Affairs. Additionally, the proposals include a structure and powers that differ from the current THA, which will include a new Legislature that consists of a President and fifteen (15) elected Assemblymen; five (5) Councillors appointed by the President on advice of the Primier; three (3) Councillors appointed by the President on advice of the Minority Leader and two (2) Councillors appointed by the President based on his/her own discretion in the selection of outstanding residents of Tobago.
The JSC proposes that a new Tobago Island Government Bill, 2021 accompany The Constitution (Amendment) Tobago Self-Government Bill, to provide essential administrative and procedural matters required for the smooth functioning of the new Tobago Island Government and Tobago Legislature.
The feedback provided from the public will help the Committee before it forms a conclusion. For more information on the Joint Select Committee’s proposals and findings for Tobago Self-Government and to make comments, please visit www.ttparliament.org.