Friday, September 6, 2013

PR legislation for Parliament Friday; D-Day for Volney

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar will on Friday address the House of Representatives on the matter of The Municipal Corporations (Amendment) Bill, 2013, which will be presented for debate in Parliament by the Minister of Local Government.

The amendment proposes the abolition of the present system of appointing Aldermen to municipal corporations and introducing a system of Proportional Representation (PR) through which Aldermen would be elected using the votes cast for Councillors in the Local Government Election.

Under the list system, all political parties would have to declare on nomination day the names of persons they want to have as their Aldermen in the corporations. Based on the votes cast in the election, the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) would determine who will sit as Aldermen.

The new system is designed to prevent manipulation by politicians and political parties since all persons serving as Aldermen would now be elected through a PR system.

The government has indicated that it would conclude debate on the amendment on Friday in a sitting that could go into Saturday morning. It would be presented to the Senate on Tuesday next week after which it would go to the President for assent. All this is expected to be completed in time for the PR measure to be implemented for the October 21 LGE.

Persad Bissessar is also expected to make a formal request for the St Joseph seat to be declared vacant. She wrote to Speaker Wade Mark on August 26 asking him to declare the seat of former cabinet minister Herbert Volney vacant because Volney has resigned from the United National Congress (UNC), the party on whose ticket he fought and won the seat in the 2010 general election.

"Section 49A of the Constitution clearly sets out the steps that must be taken by the Speaker of the House of Representatives in these circumstances. Having brought to your attention the fact that Mr Volney is no longer a member of the UNC, I call upon your good self at the next sitting of the House of Representatives to perform your constitutional duty by declaring that Mr Volney has resigned from the UNC," Persad-Bissessar stated in her letter.

“I await your declaration at the next sitting of the House of Representatives, in accordance with Section 49A of the Constitution that Mr Herbert Volney has resigned from the UNC.”

Read the story:

The Speaker is out of the country, attending a Commonwealth Parliamentary conference so Deputy Speaker Nela Khan would preside at Friday's sitting of the House.

There is speculation that under the House rules only the Speaker can move against Volney. However, JYOTI's understanding of the situation is that the Deputy Speaker has all the constitutional authority of the Speaker when she is acting in that capacity and is qualified to make a ruling on the matter. If she declines, then Mark would have to deal with it when the House meets on Monday for the budget presentation.

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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