Sunday, February 18, 2018


Bill passed after marathon Senate session


FEELING GOOD: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar is in a jovial mood as she wraps up the debate on the Constitution Amendment Bill (2014) yesterday in the Senate. –Photo: STEPHEN DOOBAY

Mark Fraser

WITH a vote of 18 for and 12 against, the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2014 was passed in the Upper House, Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain, last night.

The vote took place at 11.07 p.m.

The Government needed the vote of one Independent senator for the bill to pass.

It eventually got the support of three Independent senators.

The three Independent senators who supported the bill were Dr Rolph Balgobin, Dr Dhanayshar Mahabir and David Small.

The other six Independent senators, along with the Opposition Bench, voted against the bill. Clause Eight, which included the controversial Run-Off proposal, was passed with amendments during the Committee Stage of the Senate.

Clause Eight was passed with the same division as the Bill (18-12), with Balgobin, Mahabir and Small voting in favour of it. The bill passed after 30 hours of debate in the Senate, spanning three days.

Leader of Government Business in the Senate Ganga Singh described the passing of the bill as “the dawn of a new era”. 

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who moved the bill, said she was involved in the drafting of the bill.

During the wrapping of the bill, Persad-Bissessar said the Cabinet is currently considering bringing legislation for a fixed date for general elections.