Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 16th 2014 Contents A10
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, August 16, 2014
Former attorney general Ramesh
Lawrence Maharaj says Congress
of the People (COP) founder Win-
ston Dookeran s dissenting vote
on the Constitution (Amendment)
Bill was not enough to show his
loyalty to citizens.
Maharaj said Dookeran, along
with COP chairman Carolyn Seep-
ersad-Bachan, should resign and
join the fight against an oppressive
During the Movement for Social
Justice s public forum on the bill at
Paramount Building, San Fernando,
he said the bill was drafted to give
the People s Partnership an unfair
advantage in next year s general
With only Dookeran and Seep-
ersad-Bachan dissenting in Parlia-
ment on Monday, and Arima MP
Rodger Samuel abstaining, he said
leaving the Government would set
an example for other COP mem-
He said he now had no hope for
COP leader Prakash Ramadhar, not-
ing he had caught a case of "Eat
ah Food Syndrome."
"I read the COP manifesto and
the constitution, and I read every-
thing about the COP. With the
greatest respect to Winston Dook-
eran, speaking in Parliament and
going to mingle with them, and
being part of the Parliament, is not
support for the people," Maharaj
"He has to walk, he has to resign.
That is the only way he will demon-
strate to the country that he means
what he said.
"You cannot sit in a Cabinet for
four years and be part and parcel
of the oppression of the Govern-
ment to the people, and then come
one day in the Parliament and make
a brilliant speech---but then on
Thursday, you go and sit in the
Cabinet with them.
"That is not how the system
works. Carolyn (Seepersad-Bachan)
has to walk if she means business
for the people of T&T, that is how
the system works. As a matter of
fact, let us be honest with ourselves:
the COP members sat down in the
Cabinet for four years and they were
part and parcel of what happened
Maharaj said Government made
several errors in passing the bill, as
it should not have been passed with
a simple majority. He said it was
desperation that caused the PP to
draft the bill because it was losing
support in its traditional areas.
"This is clearly the measure. The
Partnership has been doing polls
and they are realising that in the
marginal constituencies they cannot
get the support they got in 2010.
They realised that elections are out
of their hands.
"They also realised that in tra-
ditional areas, they have lost support
and they can lose some of the tra-
He added, "What they want to
do is come up with a scheme in
order to get an unfair advantage by
using the Treasury and state
resources to win this election.
"Whichever way you look at it,
this is a measure for the Govern-
ment to steal the election of T&T."
GEORGETOWN---Police in Guyana say they have
discovered a rudimentary submarine they believe
was going to be used to ferry drugs across the
Anti-narcotics unit director James Singh says the
submarine is 65 feet long, 12 feet wide and seven feet
deep and was powered by a huge diesel engine.
Singh said the submarine was found in Guyana s
northwest coastal region near the border with
Venezuela. He believes it was locally built.
The US government has long said Guyana is a major
transshipment point for drugs headed to the US.
Officials expect to soon open a Drug Enforcement
Administration office in Guyana. A DEA spokesman
did not immediately return a request for comment.
Submarine used to
ship drugs found
by Guyana cops
Ramesh to Dookeran after reform dissenting vote...
Resignation now your only hope
Maharaj said the court has the power to
strike down any act of Parliament that is
deemed unconstitutional and that the
controversial bill was being reviewed by a
leading Queen's Counsel in England.
Maharaj did not give the attorney's
name, but said he had represented T&T
at the Privy Counsel in several matters
and also appeared on behalf of
Commonwealth citizens in constitutional
Maharaj said the QC's preliminary finding
was that the bill should not have been
passed with a simple majority vote.
He said a team of local lawyers was also
reviewing the bill and he was optimistic
that even if Government went ahead
with the legislation and it was assented
to by President Anthony Carmona, the
court would strike it down.
He explained: "Under the Constitution,
any citizen or any political party can
approach the court and say that the
Parliament has violated the rights of the
people, as with chapter one of the
Constitution or any other provisions of
the Constitution. The court has the
power, and the court is regarded as the
guardian of the Constitution and the
rights of the people.
"There has been a precedent in T&T in
determining whether laws passed by the
Parliament were unconstitutional. The
last law was the Equal Opportunity (Act)
law in which the court of T&T had
declared that the law was not passed by
a special majority and it was
"The matter went to the Privy Council in
London and the Privy Council decided
that the courts of T&T were wrong and
that the law was constitutional, even
though it was passed with a simple
majority, because it did not take away
the power of the judiciary."
UK ATTORNEY REVIEWING BILL
Fix our area first or else
WASA workers assist stranded pedestrians at City Gate, Port-of-Spain, yesterday, after heavy rains once again left the area flooded.
PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
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