Two Law-Making Bodies Meet Today

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

TWO legislative bodies in Trinidad and Tobago will be convening for special sessions today (Wednesday).

In Trinidad, parliamentarians will be meeting at the Red House in Port of Spain to address issues that arose recently out of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property (Amendment) Act, 2020.

In Tobago, executive members of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) will be meeting to discuss democracy.

The Tobago session will begin at 10 am.

The session in Trinidad will begin at 1.30 pm.

Last Thursday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced that he had requested a special sitting of the Lower House for today following issues raised by the Opposition on two orders stemming from the Public Procurement Act.

However, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said he did not have the authority and proper procedure must be followed. 

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She did say on Monday night that the Opposition would not be supporting what the Government will be attempting to do in Parliament which was to pass a validation bill.

The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2023 is listed on the Order Paper to be brought to Parliament by Minister of Finance Colm Imbert who will move that the next stage of the bill be taken later in the proceedings.

On Tuesday, the Office of the Chief Secretary issued a media release stating that a special sitting of the THA will be taking place today.

“The sitting is being convened to discuss matters of importance to our democratic way of life in Tobago,” the release stated.

The release also stated, “The Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago guarantees that our twin island republic “shall be a sovereign democratic State” and it is in this regard that the democratically elected Tobago House of Assembly shall sit to consider certain threats to its very existence.”

The sitting was announced after it has been reported that several THA officials’ homes and the home of a former chief administrator were raided by police officers believed to have been carried out by officers of the Anti-Corruption Investigations Bureau (ACIB) in relation to a controversial audio clip.

Speaking at a People’s National Movement (PNM) political meeting in Siparia on Tuesday, Dr Rowley hit out at Persad-Bissessar for not condemning anything about the special sitting in Tobago.

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He said, “Today on my phone, I see a notification where the head of the executive in Tobago has summoned the Assembly to come out tomorrow morning for a special session. I have not heard a word yet from the UNC about the undermining of the THA on that but all of us waiting to see what is this thing that cause the Assembly tomorrow to be called out in special session for a statement to be made on the democracy of Tobago, we wait and we will see.”

Dr Rowley further said, “Is okay for the Chief Secretary to call out the THA but it is not okay for the PNM to call out the Parliament to go and fix what  she says is an error in a law that we need to use every day going forward.”

He told supporters to ignore the UNC because according to him, the party filled with idlers.


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