The Elections and Boundaries Commission has 90 days after the Tobago House of Assembly (Amendment) Bill is proclaimed to change Tobago’s seats from 12 to 15 and this can be done since the EBC has done work on this.
Attorney General Faris Al- Rawi indicated yesterday in the Senate in piloting the THA Bill.
The latter became necessary following the six-six tie by the PNM and PDP in the January 25 THA election. Because of the tie, elected Assemblymen, who were deadlocked, could not elect a Presiding Officer for the THA.
Al- Rawi said yesterday that Tobago faces constitutional crisis since it requires the Assembly in working order to supervise and ensure accountability from the THA’s Executive Council. “That’s democracy, you can’t have expenditure without accountability,” the AG added.
He said the process allows for transparency in the expansion of seats from 12 to 15 since there was facility in EBC’s systems for challenge or objection.
Noting the 15 seat odd number arrangement may not be fail-safe – since a result could be 7/7/1 – Al-Rawi also said that was catered for with a 104 day period to resolve such issues if they arise.
Al- Rawi also said the court could not intervene in the issue due to the separation of powers. The PDP recently sent the THA clerk a pre-action protocol letter.
He discounted the argument by the Opposition that the Chief Secretary be elected by drawing of straws like the House Speaker.
He noted the Chief Secretary is a quasi prime minister. The Bill was passed in the Lower House last week.