Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tobago self government bill for Parliament soon: PM Kamla

Scarborough, Tobago
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Wednesday promised to bring to Parliament a bill to amend Section 75 (1) of the Constitution to give the executive of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and the THA Executive authority greater autonomy. 

She said the self government plan is to "Amend all the existing laws to be consistent with and give legal and administrative effect to the new constitutional relationship between Tobago and Trinidad."

Tobago is not an annex of Trinidad, she said. "It is an equal partner and hence the term our “sister” isle." She added, "In recognition of this, simply a fundamental political ideology, my Government has completed the recent consultations on the Green Paper on Internal Self Government for Tobago." 

The Prime Minister noted that the consultations were "widespread and engaging" and stated that the report of the Dr. Hamid Ghany Committee is due to be submitted to the Cabinet Thursday. 

"The proposals for reform are meaningful and fundamental but premised on the concept of equality and respect for our beloved twin island Republic," she declared. 

"Whilst I note the Opposition’s political intransigence and publicly declared refusal to cooperate with us in passing legislation to bring about the long overdue reforms for Tobago, I say that the efforts of this Government will not be easily thwarted. 

"The PNM may be politically obstinate, uncaring, or even unfeeling about the sensitivities and feelings of our brothers and sisters in Tobago. 

"We, however, empathize with them and are therefore committed to bringing legislation to this House to reform and transform the Constitutional relationship and template for development," Persad-Bissessar said. 

She promised that the Constitution (Amendment) (Tobago) Bill, 2011 will be laid during the current Session of the Parliament and be given strong priority. 

"This Bill will be geared towards strengthening Tobago’s internal self governance and create a platform for economic growth and development."

Persad-Bissessar noted in his budget contribution Opposition Leader Keith Rowley "barely mentioned the word Tobago...except to talk about top and bottom and winning THA election." 

She said, "This conspicuous omission speaks volumes and underscores the absence of any policy, the absence of any proposal and the absence of any initiative from the Opposition in respect of our sister isle Tobago."

Persad-Bissessar said Rowley's silence on Tobago is consistent with his party's 2010 election manifesto, which she said had no plans, programmes and policy initiatives for the development of Tobago. 

She said her government has a commitment to build "a firm and secure Partnership with our fellow citizens in our sister isle...based on mutual respect and appreciation of our unique Trinbagonian identity and the need to reverse decades of political, inequitable treatment and consequential marginalization of the people of Tobago."

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai