Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 30th 2014 Contents A11
Saturday, August 30, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Inference is one method of verification or under-
standing. We see smoke at a distant hill. From the
smoke that emanates, it is easy to decipher that
there must be fire somewhere in the hill. Although
you see only the smoke, we infer the existence of the
"unseen" from the presence of what is seen. This
type of verification is called Anumaana Pramana
(Inferential Proof). These methods of verification --
direct or inferential proof is applicable only to the
external universe. To determine the Divine Principle,
one must depend only upon the Shabdha Pramana,
or the Vedas. When the Divine is described as the
One without the attributes, eternal, ever existing,
pure and free, self-effulgent, etc.
-- all these
appellations will not make Brahman visible to you.
You must follow the teachings and realize the
existence of the Divine within you and around you.
What tools should we use
to infer the presence of the
Divine? Bhagawan lovingly
explains to us today.
Fire is seen when ash is blown away. Similarly
you can have the vision of the Self when you
give up body attachment. - Baba 0830025
Political analyst Dr Winsford
James says the runoff legislation
which was approved in the Senate
on Thursday is pointless and will
backfire on the People s Partner-
The bill was passed in the Upper
House on Thursday night after the
Government agreed to an amend-
ment on the controversial runoff
vote made by Independent Senator
The bill had initially proposed to
trigger a runoff between the top
two candidates if the winning can-
didate in a general election did not
gain at least 50 per cent of the
But the amendment proposed to
allow a third candidate in the
runoff, where that candidate
secures 25 per cent of the vote or
where the third candidate obtains
votes amounting to five per cent
less than the second runner-up.
But in the runoff featuring the three
candidates, the Government agreed
that the winner can receive less
than 50 per cent of the votes cast.
Speaking with the T&T Guardian
yesterday, James said the new leg-
islation would in fact make it harder
for the winning candidate to secure
a majority vote and would also not
guarantee an election victory for
the incumbent government.
Noting that the legislation was
amended to allow for three candi-
dates to contest the runoff, which
would take place 15 days after the
original poll, James said it would
be easier for one of two candidates
runoff than it is for one of three
candidates. He said the amendment
will make it more difficult for any
one candidate to secure the required
50 per cent or more votes.
Noting that if no candidate
received the 50 per cent majority
vote in the runoff, the candidate
with the highest percentage of votes
will be declared the eventual win-
ner, James said: "That would be
electing a minority winner, which
was the exact situation the legis-
lation was intended to change. It
will takes us back to square one.
"This is pointless legislation
because it cannot guarantee that a
candidate will be elected MP with
50 per cent of the votes cast in a
James said the Government did
not consult with the population on
the measure as it was seeking its
"It was merely seeking to keep
an election promise without con-
sulting the population. It will back-
fire on the Government," he insist-
ed, saying the swing voters who
determine the winner of elections
will vote against the Government
at the appropriate time.
James said what the voters in the
country also would like to know is
"how does this legislation help the
country or improve democracy."
Bill will backfire on Govt---James
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar poses with her senators for a group photo, following the passage of the
Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2014 in the Upper House at Tower D International Waterfront, Port-of-Spain, on
Thursday. PHOTO: MICHEAL BRUCE
Former Law Association president
Martin Daly is predicting "a lot of
unfortunate incidents" after the next
general elections because of the runoff
system which is proposed in the Con-
stitution (Amendment) Bill 2014.
The controversial bill was passed in
the Upper House on Thursday night with
the support of three Independent sen-
ators, Dr Rolph Balgobin, Dhanayshar
Mahabir and David Small.
The system provides for runoff elec-
tions in constituencies where no candi-
date received more than 50 per cent of
the votes cast.
A runoff election, involving a third
candidate with at least 25 per cent of the
votes cast in the original poll or where
the third candidate obtains votes amount-
ing to five per cent less than the run-
ner-up, will be held within 15 days to
determine the winner.
But Daly, a former Independent sen-
ator, said the 25 per cent threshold for
a third candidate was "too high, and I
believe that the problem of what would
happen between a general election and
a constituency by constituency recall
election has been underestimated."
In a brief telephone interview with
the T&T Guardian yesterday, Daly said
it was impossible to predict what could
occur, as no comparison could be made
with the 17-17-2 election result in 1995
and the 18-18 tie in 2001. He said in
those situations individual voters were
"So there was no opportunity to offer
financial inducements or other bland-
ishments to ordinary voters. So I think
it is quite different."
Daly said he "remained concerned that
if two or three constituencies become
critical in that 15-day period (for the
runoff election), then a lot of unfortunate
incidents could occur in that period, and
that remains my problem."
20 per cent threshold better
He said he was also "sorry that (Inde-
pendent) Senator (Dhanayshar) Mahabir
conceded so early to the higher threshold
of 25 per cent for the third-placed can-
didate" in the general election. He had
proposed a 20 per cent threshold but
was not supported by the Government.
"That figure is too high," Daly said,
and he "would have preferred if he
(Mahabir) had stuck out for 20 per cent."
Daly said while the Independent sen-
ators were able to get "some concessions"
from the Government on the bill, it was
too early to say if they were "good or
He said, however, the approved bill
"was less rough than originally pro-
Daly said during the debate the country
"went through a very anxious time."
"We ve come out of it and we will see
Daly also raised objections to the
labelling of Mahabir, Small and Balgobin
for voting with the Government. He said
as far as he was aware there was still
freedom of thought and speech in the
"I think there should be as much focus
on the six (Independents) who voted
against as there is with the three who
voted with the Government.
"They haven t committed some crime.
I have a problem with condemning people
who have a different point of view from
what appears to be the prevailing trend
being called out for being unpatriotic."
Daly: Rough times ahead
MIXED REACTIONS TO AMENDED RUNOFF BILL
The Elections and Bound-
aries Commission (EBC) is in
the process of reviewing the
amendments to the Constitu-
tion (Amendment) Bill 2014.
The bill was passed in the
Senate late Thursday after a
marathon debate that took
three sittings to complete.
Contacted yesterday, EBC s
Dominic Hinds said they would
now have to look at the amend-
ments to see how it would
affect their operation.
He said they are also con-
sidering the relevant electoral
infrastructure that will need to
be implemented for the
upcoming general election.
The bill was passed with
Dhanayshar Mahabir, Rolph
Balgobin and David Small vot-
ing for it.
However, the controversial
runoff clause was significantly
Some people argued yester-
day that this clause will create
statistical headaches for the
EBC come the 2015 general
EBC to review changes
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