Senior Counsel Martin Daly yesterday disagreed with the Prime Minister’s assessment that the existing Tobago House of Assembly (THA) executive remains in place while moves were made to resolve the six-six deadlock.
Daly is the latest legal luminary to add his voice to the ongoing impasse for the THA.
Yesterday, President Paula-Mae Weekes swore in 12 assemblymen, six from the People’s National Movement (PNM) and another six from the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP).
There was no agreement on the selection of the presiding officer or the Chief Secretary, which means that the THA has not been constituted.
Speaking on the issue during last night’s CNC3 newscast, Daly said he was “totally against” leaving the status quo with the current executive in place.
“It does not seem to me to make logical sense that while the old assembly is dissolved, the Executive Council remains in place but you can have no parliamentary scrutiny of that Executive Council of the Tobago House of Assembly,” Daly said.
“The question is what is the lawful route by which you can generate and start another election. That is where you have to be looking,” he said.
Daly said that a lot of research needed to be done now to seek out the source of another election.
“If there is no such authority then we may have to amend the legislation,” he said.
Daly said he was not confident of the two parties coming to an arrangement to go forward amicably.
“I am disappointed that no one has yet brought into the discussion the basis on which the elections were held under the Representation of the People Act. I heard the Prime Minister say and I agree that we are in a situation where we cannot put an assembly in place as required by law,” he said.
Daly questioned whether the situation was one in which the President, acting on the advice of the relevant politicians, ought to be advised to issue new writs of election for all 12 seats.
“I have not come to a considered conclusion but someone must have started the process for election when the THA was dissolved and I think we have to start there,” Daly said.
“I don’t think any of the other solutions make any sense,” he said.
Daly said he was “very concerned” about the call for the parliament to get involved.
“Simply because it would be the understood thing for the party that has the majority in Parliament, which is the PNM which wants to win an election in Tobago, to fashion some simple majority legislation to suit their purpose,” he said.
“That’s not saying anything bad, that is just reality,” he said.