There is still no resolution to the six-six deadlock in Tobago and no clear path to the selection of a presiding officer or a Chief Secretary.
Even after seeking legal advice on the matter, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday confirmed that the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) will have to resolve its own stalemate.
“The Tobago House of Assembly Act is very specific to the Tobago House of Assembly and therefore the steps are spelled out in there and it makes provisions for certain things and the legal advice I have allows me to wait,” Rowley said.
However, Rowley is not averse to going to Parliament to amend the existing Tobago House of Assembly (THA) legislation to solve the tie.
“If it comes to that, if that rectification involves the Parliament, then the Government would take it to Parliament,” he said.
Rowley said that while he had recommendations to amend the THA act to ensure that this does not happen again, he would prefer to leave the THA to work on its own solution.
Rowley said that in the interim, the existing THA executive remains.
“The Executive Council will stay in place to conduct the business of Tobago at an executive level,” he said.
“So as of today, the PNM through Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis and his Assembly team which was there prior to election day, they will remain in office until this matter at Parliament of the THA, until they settle that,” he said.
Rowley said that he does not believe it would take the THA four years to resolve this matter.
He said that as the THA remains unconstituted, it cannot dissolve itself to call for an election.
Rowley said that there was no set deadline or timeline for the THA to resolve the situation.
Rowley said that just like Parliament regulates its own business, the THA regulates its own business.
“And we have to wait and see how they do it going forward,” he said.
He said the THA may solve its own deadlock or it may require intervention.
“Because of the specificity of how the Assembly progresses in conducting its business, the deadlock gives them very little room,” he said.
He said there were many people with rose-tinted glasses looking for a balanced solution but said that “no six is larger than another six”.
“We await that,” he said.
“There is no role for the Prime Minister unless the Assembly achieves what the Act said it has to achieve, which is the selection of a presiding officer, the selection of a Chief Secretary, deputy chief secretary and a minority leader,” he said.
He said that the developments would be monitored in the coming days.
“What we don’t have is a functioning Tobago House of Assembly,” Rowley said.