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Opposition not to blame for Section 34 proclamation

By By Anna Ramdass anna.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

The Opposition is not to blame for the proclamation of the controversial Section 34, Opposition MP Colm Imbert has said.

Speaking on the Indictable Offences (Committal Proceedings) Bill, 2014 at the Parliament sitting Friday, Imbert said Government still needs to explain to the country why Section 34 was proclaimed.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said that the Court of Appeal judgment vindicated Government’s claim that the entire Parliament was guilty of oversight when it passed the Section 34 legislation.

The Court of Appeal rejected the arguments of appellants Steve Ferguson and Ameer Edoo in the Section 34 constitutional motion.

Ramlogan said the Court of Appeal ruling shows that the entire Parliament was to blame for the oversight in relation to Section 34.

However, at the Parliament sitting Friday, Imbert made it clear he and members of the Opposition were not to blame.

“The proclamation of Section 34 was not an oversight of the Parliament, it was an action of the Cabinet. Mr Speaker I don’t sit in Cabinet, I didn’t send any Cabinet note to recommend the proclamation of Section 34, I did not participate in any Cabinet meeting agreeing to proclaim Section 34. I sent no instructions to the President to proclaim Section 34, I had nothing to do with that neither did any of my colleagues,” said Imbert.

Imbert pointed out that Section 34 was proclaimed “in the dead of the night” as the country held its independence celebrations.

“More importantly the government has not told us, the Prime Minister has not told us, why did they proclaim Section 34?” asked Imbert.

“No amount of parading by the Attorney General and saying he vindicated is going to address this question,” said Imbert.

“Don’t tell me it’s an oversight you know, you can catch some other people, but you can’t catch me. Why did you proclaim Section 34?” asked Imbert again.

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