Sunday, July 5, 2015

Orville wants 2 neutral voices

With Minority Leader post declared vacant...

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ROWLEYS ARRIVE: People's National Movement (PNM) Opposition Leader Keith Rowley and his wife Sharon make their way to the THA Chamber yesterday for the inauguration ceremony yesterday. —Photos courtesy Tobago House of Assembly

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Newly sworn-in Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Orville London has written to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar calling for the law to be changed to allow an alternative voice on the totally People's National Movement (PNM)-controlled THA.

Speaking to reporters following yesterday's inauguration of the new THA in Scarborough, Tobago, London said he has written to the Prime Minister and copied the letter to the Opposition in which he is recommending Parliament should meet and have the President appoint two independent councillors in his own discretion.

There is now no Minority Leader in the Assembly following the election whereby the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) lost all its seats to the PNM. TOP leader Ashworth Jack previously held the post.

It is customary, according to the THA Act 40 of 1996, that the minority in the Assembly elects one councillor on the advice of the Minority Leader.

"I said two because what that will mean is that you will have the opportunity for those councillors to move motions, have the motions seconded, and guarantee we will have a debate," London said.

London said the matter should be done as a matter of urgency as it augurs well for the well-being and organisation of the Assembly.

In addition, within the next two weeks London said he will be meeting with interest groups, economist Dr Vanus James, Platform of Truth leader Hochoy Charles, the Chamber of Commerce and the Youth League on the way forward for Tobago.

He also wants his secretaries and assistant secretaries to be more in touch with their communities.

"I'll also be advising or maybe instructing that they must hold sessions with their electoral districts at least once a month," London said.

He said the new faces added to his team were a blending of youth and experience.

Commenting on Jack's absence from the ceremony, London said as far as he was aware, all political parties which took part in the election received invitations. The only person observed in the chamber representing the TOP was former assemblyman Steve Jack. Tracy Davidson-Celestine, Secretary, Division of Tourism and Transportation, has replaced Hilton Sandy who had made the controversial statement of the "Calcutta' ship as deputy THA chief secretary.

Members of the new THA:



THA Chief Secretary: Orville London

Deputy Chief Secretary: Assemblywoman: Tracey Davidson-Celestine

Assemblywoman: Claudia Groome- Duke, also appointed Leader of Assembly Business

Assemblyman: Hilton Sandy, stripped of his former portfolio of Deputy Chief Secretary.

Assemblyman: Huey Cadette

Assemblyman: Joel Jack

Assemblyman: Handel Beckles

Assemblyman: Sheldon Cunningham

Assemblyman: Ancil Dennis

Assemblyman: Jomo Pitt

Assemblyman: Hayden Spencer

Presiding Officer: Kelvin Charles

Councillor: Denise Tsoi-a-Fatt-Angus

Councillor: Dion Isaac, also appointed Deputy Presiding Officer

Councillor: Gary Melville