Monday, February 19, 2018

Warner: Protest the bill Monday

Come out on Monday and protest and demand the Government withdraws the Constitution (Amendment) Bill.

This was the call of Independent Chaguanas West MP and chairman of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) Jack Warner yesterday.

Warner told the Express before he takes his seat in the House he will be joining ILP supporters and all concerned citizens who turn up outside Parliament at the International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain, on Monday against the bill.

Debate on the controversial bill is scheduled to kick off at 10.30 a.m. with the Prime Minister herself piloting the legislation.

Warner said he intends to speak out strongly against the bill, which he described as an “ambush” on the electorate and all opposition parties in the country.

In a release, Warner called on all party supporters, friends and other political parties, as well as all patriotic citizens of this country, “to join the chorus of protest in the court of public opinion”. “We call on the Prime Minister and the Government to recall or withdraw this bill, which is ill-conceived, poorly drafted, incorrectly referenced to the Constitution and, by intent and form, unconstitutional,” stated Warner.

He further called on the minority parties within the Partnership Government “to distance itself from such an attack on our democratic parliamentary system and to stand by the people instead of standing with a compromised few, hell bent on destroying free, fair and just governance”.

Warner also called on the Government to cancel the convening of Parliament, which he said was in contravention of the Standing Orders.

“We call on all political parties opposed to this bill to set aside political diffe­rences, to engage in nonpartisan dialogue and to present a unified voice against this attempt to undermine our democratic tradition and foundation,” he said. He stated such an engagement will signal a strong intent to hold the country first, above all else and will set the precedent required for any legislation designed to alter the Constitution or rights thereafter.

“We call on all to prevent this bill from becoming a law in our country,” stated Warner.

Warner said the run-off vote was a “devious and desperate” attempt of the United National Congress to prevent all opposition parties from participating fully and effectively in any general election. 

This move, he stated, was in contravention of the Constitution and stressed that such a provision requires a special majority vote and not a simple majority as indicated by the Prime Minister.