Thursday, February 22, 2018

Analyst: Bill not an 'election gimmick’

Though it has been called an “election gimmick” by members of the public opposed to its passing, the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2014 is no such thing. Political analyst Dr Indira Rampersad gave this opinion yesterday, during a telephone interview with the Express.

Rampersad was responding to Independent Senator Rolph Balgobin’s statement that people are viewing the bill through “tainted lenses” because it is an election year.

Balgobin made the statement during his contribution to the debate in the Senate on Tuesday. “Elections may not be called until September 2015, that’s more than a year, and a day in politics is like a lifetime. So we are not really on the eve of an election. The bill has been touted as an election gimmick and I think that has had an impact on the way it is being perceived, but I think if this bill had been brought at any other time, the reaction would have been the same,” Rampersad said.

“Constitutional reform is a very controver­sial and monumental task and our society is deeply divided and polarised. So I think it would have erupted this way, regardless of when it was brought and who brought it.

“The perception that this has something to do with elections would be there because election campaigning is in the air, but it’s not really that close and so much can happen.” Contacted by tele­phone yesterday, political analyst Dr Winford James said people are sceptical of the bill not only because of the ti­ming but because people are not happy with the People’s Partnership Government.

“A lot of people are not happy with the way this Government has been governing—scandal after scandal, including corruption. People are saying that this Government does not have the moral authority to make constitutional change, having regard to the blunders that they have been making over the last four years, and the various scandals that keep coming,” James said.