Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 20th 2014 Contents A11
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The Movement for Social Justice
(MSJ) is calling on President Antho-
ny Carmona to withhold his assent
to the controversial Constitution
(Amendment) Bill 2014.
MSJ leader David Abdulah said his
party had sent a five-page open letter
"We are calling on him to exercise
the powers which we know he has
under the Constitution to withhold
his assent to the bill when it is sent
to him," Abdulah said at a press con-
The letter asks Carmona to with-
hold his assent until he is completely
satisfied that the process of the reform
can pass a proper test and prove to
be transparent, well-informed, inclu-
sive, tolerant and driven by critical
The MSJ also asked the President
to make public his position on
whether or not he would give assent.
Abdulah pointed out Section 61 of
the Constitution, which says when a
bill is presented to the President he
must signify whether he assented or
that he withheld his assent.
It also says a bill cannot become
law unless it has been duly passed
and assented to in accordance with
Abdulah said the MSJ was opposed
to the runoff provision of the bill and
felt it had fundamentally changed the
way the country elected a govern-
The letter added: "We want the
President to use the powers he has
under the Constitution to get the facts
regarding the runoff from the Prime
Minister and to withhold his assent
of this bill.
"We hope the President takes time
to listen to the people."
Abdulah said since entering office
Carmona had said many things to the
"He must step up to the plate now
and fulfil his responsibility," he added.
Abdullah said the MSJ will hold a
vigil outside President s House around
the Queen s Park Savannah on Tues-
day to rally support for the call.
"We will go to the President on the
eve of Republic Day, to say to him
that our republic is in crisis and he
needs to take decisive action in this
regard," Abdulah said.
Claxton Bay residents are
appealing to Works Minister
Suruj Rambachan to speed up
repairs to a main bridge leading
to their community.
Their fears grew once again on
Thursday, after more than 200 res-
idents were cut off after heavy
rains caused the Bulbul River to
overflow its banks and flood Dia-
The T&T Guardian visited the
scene and spoke to a resident Lyn-
cia Lee, who said while repairs to
the bridge started months ago, no
progress can be seen.
"All they did so far was dig the
river and build some wall in the
middle. The length of time the
work started they were supposed
to be finished by now," Lee said.
Lee, who has a nine-year-old
daughter at the Mt Pleasant Gov-
ernment Primary school nearby,
said schoolchildren suffer the
most whenever the river over-
"The children have to walk
through the floodwater, because
cars cannot go there," she said.
"My daughter s school bag fell
into the floodwater. All her books
She also expressed concern
about the walkway across the
river, which she says has started
to show signs of collapsing.
"The walkway starting to lean,
it looks like it might fall straight
into the river. When it gets wet
the surface starts to skate. It s
only a matter of time before
somebody gets seriously hurt."
MSJ appeals to Carmona
Don't sign off
on runoff bill
Claxton Bay residents angry about bridge
These Diamond Village, Claxton Bay residents cross a bridge over a swollen river after heavy rains on
Thursday. The residents are complaining that the bridge is unstable and they want it repaired before it takes
a life. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Contacted about the construction of the bridge, Rambachan sided
with the residents, saying the contractor had been given five weeks to
"The residents have a right to complain---this bridge was supposed to
be completed quite some time ago," Rambachan said by phone.
"The contractor was called in on Tuesday. They have been given five
weeks to complete the job."
Rambachan said if the contractor fails to deliver he will be fired and
the work valued for a different contractor to complete the job.
"I want to make it clear, the low performance by some contractors is
not being romanticised in any way," he said.
He added that while the shoddy work of contractors often cause min-
isters to come under fire, he will not tolerate poor performance.
"The minister often comes under fire, but this minister will ensure
that those charged with the responsibility of getting the works done do
so in the most efficient and cost-effective manner."
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