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By Richardson Dhalai Wednesday, August 20 2014
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PM speaks: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar at the UNC Monday Night Forum, Gasparillo Secondary School, Gasparillo...
Even though debate on the Constitution (Amendment) Bill is due to begin in the Senate next Tuesday, Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar has urged those civil society organisations which have called for the legislation to be delayed to send in their suggestions and recommendations to ensure their collective voices are heard.
While the Prime Minister did not state where civil society organisations could forward their recommendations and proposals, Government Chief Whip in the Senate, Ganga Singh, yesterday stated proposals should be forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General.
Addressing the restart of the party’s Monday Night Forum at Gasparillo Secondary School, Bonne Aventure Road, Gasparillo, Persad-Bissessar informed hundreds of supporters which packed the auditorium and spilled onto the courtyard that while civil society organisations have called for further public consultations, they had not voiced a dissenting view about the Bill.
“There is another group of citizens who are respected civil society persons, who share a different view from Government, and that view, the civil society view, they are not saying stop the Bill,” Persad-Bissessar said. “They have given no reason to say something is wrong with the Bill, they have not said whether they are for the Bill, or against the Bill. What they say is delay the debate; give it more time.”
“Well I have given more time. The Law Association, or any other civil society group has the right to send us any suggestion, any recommendations,” she said. “I deferred the Senate debate. It will not take place until the 26th of August, so there is time for those who wish to send it (recommendations).”
Last weekend, the Law Association urged Government to delay debate on the Bill for public consultation. Noting that the expected “fire and brimstone” or the collapse of the People’s Partnership Administration, had not materialised following the passing of the Bill in the Lower House, Persad-Bissessar said the coalition Government would last its full constitutional term in office.
“This term does not end, constitutionally, until September 2015, we will go the full constitutional term,” she said. “Our detractors, they are saying to me, we will lose if we pass this Bill, but I saying I will keep my promise with this Bill, we will win this election.” She said Monday’s meeting marked the first in a series in which “we are hitting the road with the intention of touching every corner of our country so we can firstly tell you about what your government has done, what your Government has been doing, and what we will continue to do for everyone in our country.”
Regarding the reforms contained within the Bill, term limits for prime ministers, the right to recall MPs and the second ballot, she again said similar legislation had been passed in 91 countries.