Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday said that she was “very disturbed” by the statements made by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on the six-six deadlock in Tobago.
At a media conference earlier, Rowley said that Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi was drafting two amendments to the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Act to resolve the protracted deadlock.
One amendment would give authority to one person to break deadlocks while the second amendment increases the Tobago seats from the existing 12 to 13, 15, or 19.
Rowley said thereafter, Tobago could proceed to fresh elections.
“His suggestions for ending the THA impasse are contrary to the existing law of Trinidad and Tobago and contrary to the democratic will of the people of Tobago,” Persad-Bissessar said in a media release.
Speaking to the media earlier, Rowley said that the amendments would not require Opposition support with the Governments majority in Parliament.
“We do not support the suggestions made by him. The Prime Minister is totally wrong,” Persad-Bissessar said.
“There is no need for Parliamentary intervention to change the law. There is no need for EBC intervention to change boundaries. There is no need for fresh elections,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar said there was no need for the previous Executive Council to remain in office.
“The existing law as contained in the THA Act and the THA Standing Orders is very clear and explicit about what needs to be done in the current situation,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar said that the use of the existing law to break the THA tie will permit a new Executive Council to be appointed “thereby ensuring that the democratic will of the people is respected.
In this way public money can be spent in accordance with the democratic will of the people by a new Executive Council of the THA as opposed to the previous Executive Council of the THA”.
Persad-Bissessar cited Standing Order 92 of the Tobago House of Assembly Standing Orders (2015) provides: “In any matter not herein provided for, resort shall be had to the usage and practice of the House of Representatives of Trinidad and Tobago…”
“The government I led amended the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives to provide for a tiebreaker in the election of the presiding officer of the House, namely, the Speaker,” she said.
Standing Order 4 (10) of the 2015 House of Representatives Standing Order provides: “If after the holding of a ballot referred to in paragraph (9) of this Standing Order the votes remain equal, the Clerk must determine by lot which candidate is to be eliminated.”