(January 24, 2013)Dear Honourable Prime Minister,
As you aware, the recently concluded Tobago House of Assembly elections have produced a result that does not include the opportunity for a minority presence in the House of Assembly.
It is the considered opinion of the people of Tobago that appropriate arrangements be made to allow for the representation of views alternative to those of the winning party be expressed in the Assembly legislature.
In light of the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill No. 1/2013 before Parliament, that proposes constitutional change for the relationship between islands of Trinidad and Tobago and for the operations of the Tobago House of Assembly, I am proposing a legislative change to immediately address this situation.
The proposals submitted by the Tobago House of Assembly to your
Government in relation to the amendments to the Tobago House of Assembly Act, proposed that the President appoint, in his own discretion, two councillors as members of the Assembly.
This proposal will address the current situation as an interim relief pending the passage of full legislative amendments to the relevant laws.
Given the urgency created by the results of the election, for alternative voices in the Assembly legislature, I recommend that the Government seek to have the Parliament approve a change to the current legislation to allow for this provision to be implemented.
I am available for further consultation, in accordance with Section 31, of the Tobago House of Assembly Act 1996.
Yours in Progress,
• Copy Dr Keith Rowley, Leader of the Opposition.