Chief Secretary Orville London plans to write Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar next week reminding her of her commitment to meet quarterly to discuss non-crisis issues relating to the governance of Tobago.
The two last met on February 22 at the PM’s Parliament Office when they discussed several issues including that of internal self government for Tobago.
London raised the issue at Thursday’s weekly post executive council media briefing while alluding to the topic which was raised at a meeting with 80 church leaders called to discuss the democratisation process following the clean sweep of his party at the January 21 Assembly election.
At the meeting Pastor Glenroy Frank of the Pentecostal Church got the support of most of those present in urging London to keep the issue of internal self government for Tobago on the front burner and to make it an issue immediately.
London said at the media briefing: “I just want to give him and the people of Tobago the assurance that that particular issue is on the front burner and it would remain on the front burner. In fact I intend to write to the Prime Minister again within the next week reminding her of her commitment that we should have non crisis meetings once every quarter and I think that this is about three months since our last meeting.” He said internal self government will be one of the issues coming from the THA that will be on the agenda.
He added that at their last meeting he would have recommended to the Prime Minister a process whereby teams from the THA or from Tobago involving various political organisations, interest groups, whatever, would have met with the Central Government team to discuss all the various presentations, all the various issues, all the various Bills, whatever and coming out of that hopefully reach the type of consensus which would have informed a Bill that could be taken to Parliament which could have been discussed in a non acrimonious environment where it would have a better chance of success.
London said he has not received any feedback from the Prime Minister but did receive one from Minister Roodal Moonilal who was at that meeting but that feedback was not particularly comforting. He said he could have gleaned from the feedback Minister Moonilal was encouraging the Assembly and Tobagonians to get involved in the ongoing reform of the constitution exercise.
However, London stressed, “We have no desire to have the reform of the THA Act commingled with that particular exercise. We support the exercise for constitutional reform but we believe that the two things could be separate because of the distance we have travelled, the point we have reached very close to the finish line and I don’t see why we should start over at this point in time.”
London said he had met with the Committee chaired by Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadar and was a little nervous of that committee. “I want a commitment from the committee that nothing that they do will undermine what has already been done,” London added.