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BUDGET DAY - September 8

By Anna Ramdass anna.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

Budget Day is September 8.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar made the announcement just after 3a.m today in winding up over 17 hours of debate on the controversial Constitution Amendment Bill 2014, which was passed with the Government's simple majority.

"May I take the opportunity honourable speaker to announce in this chamber today that Budget Day in Trinidad and Tobago will be Monday the 8th of September," said Persad-Bissessar.

In winding up the debate, the Prime Minister addressed concerns raised by her own members of government, regarding the Bill.

COP members Winston Dookeran, Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan and Dr Lincoln Douglas who are all government members expressed reservations about the Bill.

Persad-Bissessar said this was part of a healthy democracy.
"I have witnessed a democracy alive and kicking in this very Parliament," said Persad-Bissessar.

The Prime Minister said we live in a society where we must all be team players and you cannot have one or two persons not agreeing with you and therefore throwing out policy.

Members on the Government side stood and expressed their minority view. "We have heard you, we gave you the opportunity to express your minority opinion but with the greatest of respect I disagree with you," said Persad-Bissessar.

Just after 4a.m. the Prime Minister moved that the Bill be read for a third time and passed.

On the Government benches Dookeran, Seepersad-Bachan voted against. Although he called for the Bill to be put on hold, Douglas voted in favour.

COP member and government Minister Rodger Samuel abstained.
Members of the PNM Opposition bench all voted against.
Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner and ILP chairman voted against.
The final tally was 23 for, 14 against and one abstention.
The Bill will now move to the Senate next week for debate.

(from the Multimedia Desk)

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