Thursday, February 22, 2018

‘Bill will benefit one and all’

Religious leaders yesterday shared their views on the controversial Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2014, which was passed on Thursday night in the Senate.

Among them were: 

Bishop Claude Berkley 

He said: “I have been out of the island for most of the year. What the bill has done was raise the level of political consciousness, which is good for the country. 

“I would think some aspects require time and more discussion among the interest groups before we finally sign off on it—especially the run-off. I think more analysis is required. We are a unique place and that evolution must be guided by the people’s consideration. It requires a lot more time to deliberate on it .

President of the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) Harrypersad Maharaj 

He said: “I think people are reluctant to embrace change, irrespective of what kind of change. People live in fear and doubt. We have become a bit more mature in what we do. I think this bill is for positive change and development as an independent nation. Fifty-two years ago, it was a different situation. And a lot has changed from then to now. And I think it is important to bring about these changes for the benefit of everyone.” 

He added: “I want to compli­ment the PM (Kamla Per­sad-Bissessar) for the courage and stance she has taken to bring forth this long-awaited amendment that we need to the Constitution. She had even put her own political future at stake. That is the circumstance of the change. It has been a truly selfless and courageous act.” 

Maharaj said: “I think it is definitely for the benefit of one and all. I see it as an Independence gift in the right direction. Let us all embrace change and look at new initiatives for which we can go forward as an independent nation. It is a laudable thing.”

Catholic Archbishop Fr Joseph Harris 

People voted on the bill. It was passed. Let us work with it. If we have something that was voted on when it becomes law. It is not law yet. If after working with it and the population finds it is not worthwhile, then we will change it. I am not a politician. I am not getting into that. 

“My task is to get people to live moral and ethical lives. If it is bringing problems, it will be changed.”