Sunday, January 6, 2013

Rowley calls THA self government bill a political gimmick; makes no commitment to support it

File: Keith Rowley
Keith Rowley has suggested that the bill for self government for Tobago is a political gimmick aimed at embarrassing the People's National Movement (PNM).

Speaking at a political meeting at Signal Hill, Tobago, the opposition leader and leader of the PNM said the government is starting the debate a few days before the THA election in order to discredit the Opposition by highlighting the PNM's lack of support for Tobago.

"You ever hear any madness like that? So we are supposed to commit to vote for something that we are not seeing and for which they have disrespected the Tobago process and vote for it because they say so," Rowley told supporters.

He said the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and the Opposition have not received any information from the Government about the bills. 

The proposed legislation will be laid in Parliament on Monday, giving all MPs more than a week to review it ahead of the debate, which begins on January 16, 2013.

"You would think that a serious Prime Minister would have wanted at least the Bill or the thoughts or the ideas to be known on the other side. Not a word until I get to Parliament on Monday. I have no idea what is in this Bill so I can't tell you anything about it," he said.

While he did not say if the PNM would support the bill, Rowley stated that the legislation needs "a proper and more sound approach" from the Government in order to gain the commitment and support of the PNM.

The self government legislation requires a two thirds majority in both Houses of Parliament to pass. And while the government has called on the opposition to support it, the bill can pass without the support of the PNM.

In the Lower House, the governing People's Partnership has 29 members and the Prime Minister has stated that all of them would vote to support greater powers for Tobago. It needs only 28 votes at that stage.

In the Senate, where there are six opposition members, the bill can pass with the support of the government and six of the nine independent Senators. This means that contrary to what some media reports and the PNM are claiming, the measure can pass without support from the opposition.

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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