Saturday, December 16, 2017

Ramesh ready to take Constitution bill to Privy Council

Former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj said he intends to mount a legal challenge against the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill, 2014 and is prepared to fight it all the way to the Privy Council.

Speaking to the Express by phone yesterday, Maharaj said he believes the controversial Bill will be passed in the Senate after it is debated on August 26.

Maharaj said he has been following the contributions of some Independent Senators over the past few months and was “not convinced that some of them are really independent”.

The former AG said he has already started gathering evidence to begin his case and he expects the courts would make a determination on the matter before the general elections next year.

“I am confident that I will succeed in having the law declared unconstitutional,” said Maharaj.

He said today at the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) platform to discuss the Bill at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya, he will elaborate more on the matter.

Maharaj said the Privy Council will adjudicate on how to interpret this country’s Constitution based on the Westminster system.

“A Westminster-style election allows us not to have two polls and the exclusion of any political party or candidate ... a Westminster style general election does not have preference to two major political parties in choosing a Government,” said Maharaj.

He said “free vote” was of utmost importance where an eligible electorate can participate.

“I am in the process of accumulating evidence to show that the Government is really passing this law in order to serve itself by preventing votes in the marginal constituencies to  be split having regard for the traditional voting system in Trinidad and Tobago,” said Maharaj.

“The evidence would show that the legislation is not for the peace, order and good governance but passed purely for the interest of the Partnership Government,” he added.