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Law Association: Delay bill

Sunday, August 17 2014

THE Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) added its voice to the chorus of protest over the rushed Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2014 and said enough time must be allowed for a proper public consultation. Passed in a split Lower House last Monday, the bill goes to the Senate on August 26.

While welcoming a debate on constitutional reform, a LATT statement yesterday noted the concerns over the bill’s controversial provision for a runoff election.

“Reform of the Constitution is likely to have far-reaching consequences, more so where reform seeks to alter the manner of election or appointment of representatives in either House of Parliament,” LATT said. “In the light of the above, it is imperative that there is public consultation and participation regarding any proposed amendments which undoubtedly require that citizens are consulted at every stage and on every aspect of this process.”

LATT said that as a matter if urgency there must be clarity about the issue of runoff elections, so as to engender confidence on this important measure.

“If indeed there has not been any proper consultation on the issue, the LATT calls upon the Government to postpone the scheduled Senate Debate on the proposed amendment in order to facilitate proper consultation and to afford the population a meaningful opportunity to ventilate its views on the proposed amendment.”

The statement added that the 2013 Report of the Constitutional Reform Commission also spoke of matters involving the Executive, Judiciary and Local Government, which LATT said must also be included in the current constitutional reform debate.

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