Prime Minister’s amendments troubling Chief Secretary

Tobago House of Assembly.
The proposed amendments to the constitution by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar threaten the status of the Tobago House of Assembly and Tobago.

Chief Secretary Orville London said he believed that there are implications for the THA and Tobago because what the Prime Minister is proposing is the possibility of sweeping change with just a simple majority.

He stressed: “Although the THA is protected in the constitution and therefore the institution cannot be disbanded without a two-thirds majority, the clauses in the THA Act which give the THA teeth and credibility, can be changed with a simple majority.

“We in Tobago have got to ask ourselves what happens to us if this Government or any future Government just gets up one day and says this thing called the THA, we don’t think it should exist anymore, we don’t think it should exist in that state, let’s change it and that would be end of the THA as we know it,” London said.

London recalled that it is in this context that Tobagonians need to think back to what happened a week before the last THA election, “when there was a big charade about a THA Act being carried before the Parliament.”

He said now almost two years after the election “we have not heard a single peep from the Prime Minister, but what has been happening is that the authority of the THA is systematically being eroded by the actions of the Ministry of Tobago Development and other ministries in the central government, mostly with the collusion or the instruction of the Prime Minister.”

London said it is in that context that he is urging all Tobagonians to understand the significance of the current review of the THA.

“Tobagonians have got to send the signal very loud and clear that they will not be prepared to accept a situation where the rights and even the gains of the past are eroded and that they are thwarted in their efforts to get what Tobago has deserved for so many decades.”

London said on Wednesday (6th August 2014) that the constitutional amendments proposed by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar signals that she and her team are not averse to forcing their views down the throats of the people of Trinidad and Tobago when it suits them and more importantly when it suits their political purposes.

London said he was concerned that what is being placed before the House for debate did not come from the people in circumstances where this whole issue was put before the people,” London told reporters at the weekly post Executive Council media briefing.

He added that it is obvious that if it was not done because of the wishes or the demands of the people, “it follows logically that it was done to further the interest of the Prime Minister and her team.”

London said it is in that context that he is urging all Tobagonians to understand the significance of the current review of the THA where Tobagonians have got to send the signal very loud and clear that they will not be prepared to accept a situation where the rights and even the gains of the past are eroded and that they are thwarted in their efforts to get what Tobago has deserved for so many decades.

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