Saturday, August 3, 2013

PM welcomes Jack, outlines legislative agenda as 4th session of 10th parliament opens

File: PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Friday welcomed her former cabinet colleague Jack Warner to parliament as she delivered a brief statement at the opening of the first sitting of the fourth session of the 10th parliament in which she also outlined her government's legislative agenda for the session.

"I take this opportunity to welcome back to the Parliament, the member for Chaguanas West," she said.

"The honourable member is no stranger to this House and we on this side look forward to positive contributions and support from him as the Parliament continues its business," she added.
Jack Warner takes the oath of office to return to his seat as the MP for Chaguanas West.
He has returned to Parliament as a representative of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP)
Warner resigned his Chaguanas West seat in April following his departure from cabinet. He ran against the UNC candidate, Khadijah Ameen in the July 29 byelection and was re-elected as the candidate for the Independent Liberal party, which he launched less than a month ago. 

Persad-Bissessar commented on the election as well, describing it as one of the most strongly contested byelections in the country’s history.

"What we witnessed over the past weeks was democracy in action," she stated. "It is a tribute to our nation’s founding fathers who enshrined in our constitution, the rights that our people demonstrated and the freedom to join a party of their choice, and elect the person they consider best qualified to represent them in this august chamber."

She noted that all MPs are operating under the watchful gaze of a very discerning and demanding public. 

"We are representatives of the people and we are here to deal with the people’s business. We accept our responsibility as servants of the people to conduct the affairs of State without fear or favour, malice or ill will. 

"We accept our responsibilities with the clear understanding that national interests and the national good must take precedence over partisan and individual interests," Persad-Bissessar stated.

She also briefly outlined some of key issues for the current legislative session.

"During this term, we plan to implement certain measures to deal with crime. While the police have been reporting lower levels of serious crime, we feel we can do more. I am noticing the increase lawlessness in the country. Just this week, rival gangs were shooting up the streets in east Port-of-Spain in broad daylight.

"How brazen can they get! They have little or no regard for human life. We need to have the Anti-Gang Act enforced so as to deal with this increasing scourge in the society.

"During this Parliamentary term, I expect the Honourable Attorney General to find additional ways to deal with the crime problem. 

"It would seem that despite the measures already in place to deal with road safety, more needs to be done. Motorists continue to speed with impunity, drivers continue to speak on the cell phones while driving, people continue to drink and drive, thereby endangering the lives of other persons. People are just breaking the law. 

"As we enter another Parliamentary session, I have asked the Minister of National Security and the Minister of Transport, to take on the task of tackling this problem on the roads. Too many people, especially young persons, are dying, either from speed, too much alcohol, or being weary.

"Just last week, Cabinet was asked to agree to the installation of speed trap cameras across the country to assist in reducing the carnage on the roads. These cameras function well in the United States and the United Kingdom, and with great success. 

"Health care is one of the issues which my Government intends to step up in the coming year. We have already agreed to the construction of several hospitals, and just last week, I announced that a health care centre will be erected in Felicity.

"Members of the public need to access health care from any part of the country and it is my wish that this would become a reality soon. 

"The issue of constitutional reform remains one of the pledges that all MPs who were elected under the People's Partnership ticket had subscribed to. 
"Key among these were (i) fixed election dates, (ii) term limits for the Prime Minister; and, (iii) the right of recall for MPs. 

"We remain committed to deliver on these promises as we begin this fourth session of the Tenth Parliament of our Republic. The Hon Minister of Legal Affairs spearheaded the consultations on constitutional reform throughout Trinidad and Tobago, and I await the report of that committee. 

"My Government intends to deliver on these promises before the next general election is held, and I look forward to the support of our parliamentary colleagues on the other side to help us deliver what we had promised.

"The coming Parliamentary session is expected to be hectic. There are a number of matters expected to be laid before this Honourable House. I would mention just a few for now. 

"One of the proposed pieces of legislation is the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Bill. This Bill seeks to provide for public procurement and the disposal of public property in accordance with the principle of good governance, namely, accountability, transparency and value for money.

"The Jury (Amendment) Bill 2013 seeks to address some of the major challenges to the jury system thereby improving its efficacy. This Bill would create offences of juror misconduct and juror interference, restrict the publication of personal information of jurors, empower the judge to separate the jury after they retire, and provide for special juries in complex fraud matters.

"The Insurance Bill 2013 is to provide a new regulatory framework for the insurance industry and to continue to provide for the regulation of privately-administered pension fund plans," the Prime Minister said.

She also made reference to the recent CARICOM summit, which was held in Port of Spain last month.

"This year we were honoured to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Chaguaramas that established the Caribbean Community.

"As chair of CARICOM it was my privilege to be a part of the re-enactment of that historic beginning during the annual heads of government conference and to recommit to our regional states our pledge to honour the tenets of good governance for all our people," she started.

At the start of her presentation she commented on the speech by President Anthony Carmona.

She said, "I offer my thanks and congratulations to His Excellency, President Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, on his insightful and thought-provoking maiden speech at this ceremonial opening of Parliament.

"His Excellency has reminded us of our duties and responsibilities to the people of Trinidad and Tobago, and has challenged us to truly become advocates on behalf of the people."

No comments:

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