Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 8th 2014 Contents Resist runoff
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Accusing the United National Congress of
being self-serving and presenting legislation
to prevent its imminent general election defeat,
Rowley said the run-off poll could prevent
the President from appointing a prime min-
ister and successful candidates and a defeated
prime minister and government might have
to stay in office until any required run-off is
He warned that in the interim 15-day period,
a defeated government with access to Treasury
funds could go into targeted constituencies and
try to sway votes in its favour.
He claimed 25 government projects were
done in St Joseph to aid People's Partnership
candidate Ian Alleyne in last year's by-election.
Rowley said: "But they are now putting into
law to allow at the end of an election that they
can do that. All they have to do is file an election
petition, obstruct completion of an election in
the second run-off and go to court and use
their battery of lawyers to drag it out and remain
A run-off will also clear out of the way small-
er parties, like the Independent Liberal party
(ILP) and Congress of the People (COP), who
were second and third, he said.
Since the proposal could see defeated MPs
remaining in office until a run-off is held, the
situation could lead to disturbance of the peace
and good order, Rowley said, and Section 53
of the Constitution stated Parliament must
make laws for peace and good order.
Considering the negative potential of the
run-off poll---possible breach of the peace---he
said the initiative would require a special two-
thirds majority for passage, which the Gov-
ernment didn't have, and not a simple majority
as it said.
"This Government is laying the foundation
so that when it is defeated for there not to be
a peaceful and quiet transfer of power in T&T,"
He gave another example of defeated MPs
having to stay in office and pass a budget while
they awaited run-off polls.
"I ask all the people of T&T, if you believe
Section 53 on peace and good order is important
and the potential for political instability could
damage T&T, reject all the blandishments of
the government spokespersons and focus on
the potential of this run-off to create dangerous
instability," he added. (GA)
Friday, August 8, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 07TH AUGUST, 2014
The late Julian "Vice" Cudjoe (yesterday's
Page A15) of Witco Desperadoes was not the
vice-chairman of Panland Industries. Our
apologies for the error.
The Government s proposal for run-off
polls has the potential to create dangerous
political instability, says Opposition
Leader Dr Keith Rowley.
Yesterday, he urged the population to
voice its rejection of the idea, saying the
proposal could assist a defeated government
or MPs to remain in office until a run-off
poll was held.
Speaking at a briefing at Balisier House,
Port-of-Spain, yesterday after Wednesday's
People's National Movement's General
Council meeting on the issue, Rowley said:
"This offers the opportunity of a defeated
party to hold on to power while this sec-
ondary election is done. It's a major threat
to T&T's peace, stability and good order.
"There's the potential for the first time
not to have a smooth handover of Gov-
ernment. It's a Trojan horse with the poten-
tial to bring down the empire of stability
in T&T. We have rejected it and we will
Rowley urged the population to react,
noting the People's Partnership Govern-
ment "only reacted to massive public rejec-
He said: "It's now for the people to envis-
age the day when the Government tries
that. We are asking the public to stave off
the instability and reject the legislation...
to be aware of the situation and express
their views to the Government.
"It's only when the people react en masse
the Government backs away from what
it's doing. We have hours to Monday's
debate to stave this off.
"It's for the population to express their
position and to stand up and say they will
not accept this. If the population remains
quiet and allows Government to pass this,
the detriment I described will befall us."
The PNM's council on Wednesday
passed a resolution authorising the lead-
ership to "do all things lawful, democratic
and right in defence of T&T's democracy
and call on the right-thinking people of
T&T to reject the measures in the bill,"
Rowley also reiterated that Parliament's
new Standing Orders ordered a fixed recess
between July and September and the Par-
liament could only meet in the period
between in an emergency but Government
had not said what the emergency was for
Out of the three constitutional amend-
ments which Government proposes, Row-
ley said the recommendation for a two-
term limit for prime ministers was a
non-issue and was not needed as a matter
He said the recall of MPs would create
a disruption since it was proposed for the
fourth year of a term, when a government
should be delivering, and required two
thirds of people on a voters' list to appeal
for the recall.
So that proposal had little chance of
success and there was no urgency for it,
either, he added.
But the run-off poll, which will be trig-
gered when a candidate fails to get 50 per
cent of the votes cast, was the real "poison"
and the reason Government was having
the sitting, Rowley said.
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley quotes from the House of Representatives' Standing
Orders booklet during yesterday's press conference when he called on citizens to stand
against the controversial constitution reform proposals. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Bill could prevent
GETTING IT RIGHT
Rowley: Recipe for political instability...
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
has reassured the nation that there is noth-
ing to fear about the proposed electoral
reform which she proposed in the Parlia-
ment last Monday.
In her first public statement since the
public raised concerns about the proposal
and in particular the runoff poll, Persad-
Bissessar said her Government had taken
its times in ensuring the legislation was well
"You have nothing to fear. This did not
come like a thief in the night," Persad-
Bissessar said during her Eid-ul-Fitr function
at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's.
She said what she announced in Parlia-
ment, the two-year term limits for PMs,
right for recall for MPs and runoff second
ballot, came after much the work the Con-
stitution Commission did during its con-
sultations with the public. That commission
was chaired by Minister of Legal Affairs,
The PM said an initial report was prepared
and brought to Government on December
2013, but Persad-Bissessar said Ramadhar
asked for more time for further consultations
and time to get feedback for proposals.
The final report, she added, was submitted
in April this year and then submitted to
Cabinet in July ,where the recommendations
"Be not afraid. This will place more power
in your hands. You have nothing to fear."
Kamla: Be not afraid of reform
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