Saturday, February 17, 2018

...Civil society group writes senators


A group of citizens belonging to a number of civil society organisations have joined the call for a halt to the debate on the bill. 

The combined group called Assembly of Citizens, met on Sunday at the Lloyd Best Institute in Tunapuna where a letter was drafted to be sent out to Independent senators last night.

The assembly’s letter said the proposal for a run-off vote was brought to Parliament without the public’s input and this was in direct contradiction to the Prime Minister’s pledge of engaging “a system of participatory democracy” as the basis of the Constitution Reform Commission’s work.

“We therefore urge you to exercise your judgment and authority to ensure that this omission is properly repaired before the bill is taken to the vote,” the assembly stated.

“As custodians of the public interest, we urge you to utilise your Constitutional power and responsibility to ensure that this amendment to the Constitution, which is being brought to you unprotected by the requirement for a special majority vote, does not move past the Senate without the benefit of broad public consultation in line with the mandate given to the Constitution Reform Commission,” they added.

Signatories to the letter include members of the Lloyd Best Institute of the West Indies, the Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute, Women Working for Social Progress (Workingwomen), the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs, the OWTU, the Save Our Green Space Committee and several individual citizens.

Today, the Independent senators will also receive over 3,000 signatures from members of the public who have stated their reasons for calling for the debate to be stopped. 

They participated in an online petition which, up to last night, had 2,141 signatures. 

Jamelia Reid-Cato, who formed the petition, said persons have signed “face-to-face” bringing the total signatures to 3, 453. 

“In all, 30 envelopes with all the signatures have been made up which we will give out to each senator,” she told the Express.