Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 29th 2014 Contents Communications Minister Ger-
ald Hadeed brought the Senate to
life shortly before it was adjourned
close to 11 pm on Wednesday, with
his banter on the booing he
received from People s National
Movement (PNM) supporters out-
side Parliament on Tuesday.
Arguing it was an example of mob
rule, he said when he approached
the protesters they started to boo
him and he put down his bag and
waved at them.
"When they got more angry, I
waved more. That was mob rule,"
Government Senator Emmanuel
George interjected, "Wajang behav-
Hadeed, who had members
chuckling, went on to demonstrate
how a "friend" on the other side
was wiping his face after being
hugged by the PNM supporters.
He said when the protesters saw
this "friend" they behaved as though
they saw Jesus.
He went on to charge that it was
only two men, PNM founder Dr Eric
Williams and former president Sir
Ellis Clarke, who drafted the Con-
stitution and "did all the damage."
"Where were the consultations?"
"That is the conniving type of
history the PNM gave us and then
they come and say there is no con-
Hadeed further recalled that when
consultations were held by the PNM
during the drafting of the Consti-
tution in 1961, they established
states of emergencies in six DLP
He said the PNM has the media,
the law association and churches
in their grip and when anything
good comes up, they all come out
of the woodwork to stop it.
"Minority voting is their pattern."
Government Senator Razia
Ahmed also blamed the media and
the Opposition for creating scare
tactics over the bill.
Referring to the booing of MPs
by "mothers and fathers" outside
Parliament, she said that was prob-
ably also the way they behaved in
Covered in her hijab, she proph-
esied, "These mothers and fathers
would be booed by their own chil-
dren in their homes."
Ahmed said that was a natural
law of justice, as inescapable as
night closes day.
She said she was concerned when
PNM senators like Camille Robin-
son-Regis referred to the crowd s
behaviour as "goodwill."
Temporary Senator Sharon Legall
gave neither a yea nor a nay in her
brief contribution to the debate on
the Constitution (Amendment) Bill
2014 in the Senate on Wednesday
Listing some advantages, she said
voter turnout in a runoff election
(the pet peeve in the bill) could actu-
ally be higher.
On the other hand, there was the
phenomenon of voter fatigue.
"There is a growing portion of
the population which do not vote
at all," Legall noted.
Vaguely hinting she may support
the bill, she further pointed out that
democracy is both ideal and a
"One of the ideals is participation
and this is effected through vot-
Legall said the proposals in the
bill need to be tested.
Friday, August 29, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Ignorance has a very powerful influence on the mind.
Arjuna said to Krishna, "The mind is very powerful,
however it has a wavering nature." Lord Krishna
said, "A bee has the strength to drill a hole in the
hardest variety of wood. However when it enters a
lotus, if the lotus closes its petals, then even with all
its might, the bee cannot come out of it. Similarly
once the all-powerful mind comes to the lotus feet of
the Lord it becomes powerless and surrenders.
However potent or wavering one's mind may be, it
can be and must be controlled with spiritual practice
(Sadhana). When Jesus was nailed in the Cross, his
followers were deeply pained and in great grief. He
said, "Just as this body had a dress, this body is just
an attire for the soul. Do not grieve". He taught his
followers, "Do not harm anyone or hurt anyone. Treat
everyone alike." Everyone must practice these
What is the best way to
tame your mind?
explains to us today.
Open the gates of wisdom, tear the veil of ignorance and
enter the abode of Divine Bliss. Then you will rest in
peace forever - Baba
Take the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2014 back
to the people.
This was opinion of several independent senators
in the Upper House on Wednesday as debate continued
until close to 11 pm.
Independent Senators David Small, Rev Joy Abdool,
Dr Dhanayshar Mahabir and Sharon Legall all indicated
that while they had no major problems with the pro-
visions in the bill, they felt the consultative process
Independents want more work on bill
But Mahabir and Small dispelled notions
there was a hidden plot behind the bill.
Small said his internal sense tells him there
is nothing sinister or malicious in the Gov-
ernment bringing the bill, indicating he may
support the bill with further analysis.
He said, however, he felt the consultative
process was "massively flawed" and "respect-
fully" asked it be given more thought.
Many have taken sides for or against the
bill, but he said this was not his nature.
He said he was booed by People s National
Movement (PNM) supporters outside Par-
liament but he was not in the popularity
Small said he was asked by the President
to come to the Senate and had no problems
with the bill s key provisions, the runoff
ballot, the right to recall and fixed-term
limits for a non-functioning MP, going so
far as to say the recall clause was "imme-
He said he was one for change but noted
the legislation as a package had not been
Small charged skewed information was
being placed in the public record.
T&T test case
Noting he read extensively on the bill and
held video conferences with an international
expert, he said he was basing his contribution
purely on statistics.
Only eight per cent of the world s countries
(18) use the runoff ballot, he said. Small said
45 countries use the Westminster electoral
system of first-past-the-post (FPP) and 81,
proportional representation. Of the 18 coun-
tries using the runoff system, only one also
has legislation giving citizens the right to
recall a non-functioning MP. And six of those
using FPP have the right to recall in place.
"The bill would put T&T in the exclusive
category of being one of only two countries
using both the runoff system and the right
Saying the other country using both is a
small island in the South Pacific, Small said
there is no empirical evidence to show how
both work together and T&T would become
a test case.
"That is my biggest, number one, huge
concern. I think the bill could use some addi-
tional thought," he said.
The runoff system should not proceed
either without campaign financing legislation
in place, he said, as without it, parties which
do not have much money could be at a huge
disadvantage in a second runoff election.
On closer examination, the right to recall
could also present an opportunity for mis-
chief, Small said.
"People have axes to grind. You can run
a curry cue and get 2,000 signatures.
"Some came here with a couple thousand
signatures. I don t know where they came
"This could lead to an excess of democ-
Small said fixed-term limits for a prime
minister seem eminently supportable, but
he was not sure how much work was done
on this clause. Some provision is needed to
deal with any unforeseen circumstance, he
Leader of Government Business in the
Senate Ganga Singh interjected to say this
would be taken into consideration.
UNC senators condemn protesters
Independent senators Dr Sharon Legall, left, and Dr David Small, centre,
chat with Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Ganga Singh,
during a break at Wednesday's debate on the Constitution (Amendment)
Bill 2014 at Tower D, International Waterfront, Port-of-Spain.
PHOTO: CLYDE LEWIS
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