Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 3rd 2013 Contents Hence, he said, all parliamentarians
should co-operate in holding the Gov-
ernment accountable and parliamentarians
of differing political persuasions were also
expected to co-operate on matters that
promote the development, security and
uplifting of society.
There was a rumble of agreement from
MPs when Carmona asked why debate
should take place at 2 or 3 am.
"How does this compare with the dis-
advantage of a severely reduced comple-
ment of representatives, coupled with the
obvious exhaustion of those who have
managed or have been obliged to stay the
course? Does this really augur well for the
quality of parliamentary contributions?
"Should major decisions, in this, the
highest law-making body in the land, be
made when the decision-makers are often
barely awake? Would it not be preferable
to start parliamentary sessions earlier? It
is highly unproductive to begin sessions
at 1.30 pm subject to the vagaries of a
heavy lunch and oppressive humidity."
He suggested sittings should begin at
8 am, and also frowned on MPs reading
He made a bold call for the CCJ to
become the country s final court of appeal
and suggested a referendum on it.
"Why can t we start believing in our-
selves and our competencies?" he asked.
"Let there be a vote of conscience, by
secret ballot, on whether it becomes the
final Court of Appeal or, if as parliamen-
tarians you lack the confidence to make
that change, place it before the electorate
by way of public referendum on the ballot
"The upcoming local government elec-
tions, in two months time, affords an
ideal opportunity for doing this. We must
no longer pussyfoot on the matter."
He also called for change in election
"The time has come when we must bite
the bullet of campaign financing reform
and introduce appropriate measures for
disclosure, reporting and enforcement
laws to ensure transparency and account-
ability in the management of the country s
Carmona suggested using the Board of
Inland Revenue to monitor politicians
assets, a move he first backed when he
worked in the Office of the Director of
"There have been allegations of prof-
ligate enrichment by persons in authority,"
"There have been complaints and
observations for just as many years that
the asset base of politicians is inconsistent
with their income and tax returns and
there has been a hue and cry for the inter-
vention of the Integrity Commission or
the Fraud Squad.
"Why are we taking such a divergent
route when we can wake up that sleeping
giant called the Board of Inland Revenue?
Rise from your slumber. Do what you are
empowered to do."
Carmona also said the Government s
role is one of steward and not partisan
"The Government should ensure the
nation s resources are evenly and fairly
distributed, not based on how one chooses
to cast one s vote," he said.
"It makes a mockery of a democracy
if the exercise of my civic right attracts
punishment, verbal flagellation and mar-
ginalisation. Regrettably, this has been
the modus of successive governments."
Carmona also said dignity and decorum
in parliamentary conduct were of grave
"It is time to consider whether we are
in contravention of the oath that we have
taken, whether we have fallen short. Is
our greatest allegiance to our country or
are there competing allegiances? Can we
say that we are discharging our duties in
a manner that is scrupulous, painstaking,
principled and governed by conscience "?
The country needed a return to honour,
he said, to restore the personal credibility
of its leaders, in every sphere.
Carmona said: "Honour cannot be leg-
islated. Honour does not only involve dis-
tinguishing between right and wrong.
Honour demands we eschew the very
perception of wrongdoing and impropri-
Wealth, education and rank did not
make one honourable, he pointed out.
Continuing to stress the need for
inspired and inspiring leadership, he
admonished: "Parliamentarians, you
sometimes fall short in the conduct you
display in and out of the Parliament."
He chided them for what he described
as "forms of communication that den-
igrate and degrade, which he said signal
"to the larger public, and especially to
our impressionable children, that crass
behaviour and disrespect are acceptable
modes of conduct and communication."
The President made good on his calls
for improvements when he interjected
reprimands to an MP who appeared to
be making sotto-voce remarks about his
address while he was expressing concern
about campaign financing.
Carmona, looking to one side, said,
"Madam, we must get really serious about
this. It applies to all and sundry."
In a repeat occurrence while he was
speaking about conduct, he said , "Ma am,
I m speaking about conduct."
Carmona s address received a standing
PP House leader Roodal Moonilal later
said Parliament would adjourn to a date
"and time.." to be fixed.
For Part One of the full text of the Pres-
ident's speech, see Page A11
Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
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Saturday, August 3, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Make CCJ final court
President Anthony Carmona walks with Speaker of the House of Representatives Wade
Mark, left, and President of the Senate Timothy Hamel-Smith at the ceremonial opening
of Parliament yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Recycling of old
faces had to stop
President Anthony Carmona has defend-
ed his new Independent appointments, hit-
ting out at detractors.
Speaking at yesterday s ceremonial par-
liamentary opening, Carmona said: "I saw
a need to retool the composition of the inde-
pendent senatorial bench. I have listened
and I have also observed for years the gaps
in that composition."
He added: "Where were the detractors in
the last three years, when there was no energy
expert on the Independent bench, no person
of disability for some 50 years and no inter-
nationally-recognised expert and academic
in finance? Where were you men and women
He said two of his important constitutional
duties as President were the appointment
of Independent senators and members of
the Integrity Commission, with the former
being made in his own discretion and the
latter made by him after the relevant con-
sultation. (See Page A5).
"Therefore, responsibility for these choices
rests entirely on my shoulders. In making
such appointments, I will always be true to
my oath of office to conscientiously and
impartially discharge the functions of Pres-
ident. In respect of such appointments, the
buck stops with me," Carmona said.
He said the constitutional provision that
no one under 25 can be a senator was a
"dinosaur piece of legislation."
"In every generation there comes along
an exceptional human being under the age
of 25 and there should be a constitutional
provision for such an occurrence," he said.
"I have a deep respect for institutional
memory and it has its place and relevance,
but I also believe in creating lines of suc-
cession and, for far too long, with consecutive
governments, we have the same faces with
the same old philosophies and tired ideas."
Carmona said meetings between the Pres-
ident and the Prime Minister provide an
opportunity for the Government to hear the
views of the non-aligned in the decision-
He explained too that the President is not
obliged to act in accordance with advice
which is contrary to the law, that is illegal,
unconstitutional or outside of the jurisdiction
of the person giving the advice.
"Just as selections properly made by me
in my own judgment are constitutionally
required to be accepted by others, likewise,
as President, I am required to accept the
choices made by others in accordance with
the applicable constitutional or statutory
provisions," Carmona said.
"I will make my own decisions where I
am authorised by the Constitution or other
law so to do, but in respect of matters where
the authority to make the decision is vested
in another person, I will follow the Con-
stitution and the law and give effect to their
"It is still quite proper for a President to
counsel and warn against any advice or rec-
ommendation that he considers to be
unwise, and this I have done, with a measure
He said it was important for the public
to know this, as "intellectual dishonesty
many times masquerades as critical analy-
Continued from Page A1
Carmona on new senators:
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