Senior Counsel Martin Daly said yesterday that while he was not disputing that the current Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Executive Council remains in place, he felt it was “unsatisfactory” that the unit continued to have access to the funds allocated to Tobago especially without an Assembly to scrutinise the spending.
Daly weighed in on the six-six deadlock in Tobago which remained unresolved.
Daly, was interviewed on i95.5 FM yesterday morning and said that part of the role of the constituted Assembly was to raise questions about spending and actions taken by the Council.
“The big question is how do we get an Assembly and I don’t want to give the impression that the council is not legally there,” he said.
Daly said he did believe that everyone was “looking in the wrong place” for a resolution to the protracted deadlock.
“I think we need to look at the Representation of the People Act and examine carefully what are the circumstances under which the Cabinet or other authorised person can advise the President to issue writs of election, in this case for the twelve electoral districts in Tobago,” he said.
“Now I take the view that the Assembly was dissolved and the previous assembly remains dissolved. The dissolution cannot change,” he said.
“The Government accepts that it cannot put a new assembly in place. I believe the area we have to explore is if the Assembly remains dissolved and nothing has taken its place, can we say that this continuing state of dissolution gives sufficient authorisation to advise the President to issue writs of election for the twelve electoral districts,” he said.
Daly said he still had to do more research on the matter.
“To me that’s the place we can find lawful authority to have another election,” Daly said.
“That is my position,” Daly said.
Daly also said that he would “not be comfortable” amending the THA Act right now.
“In the normal course of things politics, the party that has the majority to amend the THA Act has a vested interest in the outcome there,” he said.
On Thursday, President Paula-Mae Weekes swore in 12 assemblymen, six from the People’s National Movement (PNM) and six from the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP).
Later that same day, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said that according to the legal advice he received, the THA would have to resolve its own stalemate but he would take the matter to Parliament for resolution if the need arose.