A time for wise counsel
In passing the ball to President's House, Opposition Leader Keith Rowley is rightfully exploring an available avenue for keeping the issue of Section 34 in the national spotlight.
Whether the manoeuvre can achieve much more than that remains doubtful, but from a political perspective, this may well be enough to allow public opinion to build and harden around the greatest debacle of an administration increasingly defined by its propensity for generating debacles.
In receiving the petition, Acting President Timothy Hamel-Smith told the Express he had noted to Mr Rowley that there are times when there is benefit in having the experience of sitting in both the chairs of the Senate President and President of the Republic. Presumably, this is one such case.
One expects that as the presiding officer in the Senate when the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act was passed, Mr Hamel-Smith has more of a vested interest than most in understanding the precise means by which the government selected Section 34 for proclamation, notwithstanding commitments to the contrary to Parliament.
Despite the calls for Cabinet dismissals in the petition, one presumes that Mr Rowley knows that the Acting President cannot require the Prime Minister to fire any minister. What the Acting President can do, however, if so minded, is to engage the prime minister in a serious conversation about the impact of this imbroglio on public confidence in her government and, consequently, on the quality of governance of the country.
While the quasi-ceremonial role of the President allows little room for influence on the Prime Minister, the office itself and the stature of the person occupying it provide useful opportunity for quiet, confidential discussion as well as enormous scope for moral suasion above and beyond the sabre-rattling of the political arena.
The prime minister, therefore, would be well-advised to embrace the opportunity for an open and frank conversation with the President and to approach the meeting with an open mind.
Contrary to the exhortation by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal that citizens should "move on" from the controversy of Section 34, this issue is unlikely to go away until the public gets an explanation with which it is satisfied.
The show of strength in Wednesday's march had everything to do with the depth of public anger over this issue which is proving to be powerful enough for groups to put aside their differences and join hands in solidarity.
While we wait to see how the Acting President's undertaking to the delegation pans out, we hope the Prime Minister will distill the message from Wednesday's march and consider how she might rebuild some modicum of the shattered public confidence in her government.
The Prime Minister announced late yesterday that she would be speaking on the matter of Section 34 today.
We wait with bated breath for her statement.