Monday, January 22, 2018

Political games with Tobago bill


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Somebody wake me up, please, and assure me that the Prime Minister isn't serious about referring the Tobago Bill to a Joint Select Committee "to enable more time for further discussions... to obtain the consent and support of all members of Parliament and the people of T&T".

Shouldn't this have been done before tabling the bill in Parliament?

The THA spent two years, I believe, getting the input of Tobagonians on what they want and how they see their island developing. This was included in the THA's Green Paper and forwarded to the PM where it seems it was trashed since she subsequently convened a three-man team to go over the same ground with "wide" consultations.

Except from all reports those who were consulted have evaporated into thin air!

How can such vulgar, ill-thought out, ridiculous, idiotic actions be taken on such a critically important matter of constitutional reform which will affect all of us without the population at large being fully advised before the proposed legislation reaches Parliament?

Why is this being tabled for debate on January 16 at the height of the THA election campaign? What is the reason for this haste?

This feels like a Section 34 all over again with the sleight of hand and loaded dice ready and waiting during the triple distractions of elections and Carnival, and lest we forget, the unconscionable marathon debate sessions.

It has suddenly dawned on this Government that they need to demonstrate that they "place Tobago first".

The unseemliness of announcing proposed constitutional changes on a political platform makes me wonder at the limited thinking behind this strategy. Intelligence, good planning and timely execution for the benefit of all the people is so obviously not on this Government's agenda.

I cringe each time we are collectively slapped in the face with hasty, poorly researched and equally poorly written legislation. It therefore would surprise me if the Tobago bill deviates from the already established norm.

Gimmickry to benefit Ashworth Jack is most definitely not what I expect when talking about legislation that will fundamentally change our Constitution. This is very serious business.

This Government is all at sea and seems unable to grasp that the anchor they need is not the support of the sycophants but the respect and goodwill of the population of this land.

Catherine Hidalgo

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