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Case For Constitutional Reform Part 2

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Part 2



In 1971 His Excellency Sir Ellis Clarke, Governor General (as he then was), appointed a commission of enquiry headed by the Chief Justice Sir Hugh Wooding, TC, to consider the Constitution of T&T and matters related thereto. They were to make recommendations for the revision of the Constitution and for matters of constitution reform in T&T.



The Wooding Commission, in its report dated January 22, 1974, noted that, “In reality the Westminster political system has a propensity to become transformed into dictatorship when transplanted in societies without political cultures which support its operative conventions. The principle underlying the Westminster system is that the party which controls the majority in parliament following an election is invited to form the Government.”


The commission further found that there was voting along racial lines.“The DLP won ten seats…all in areas where Indians comprised more than 50 per cent of the population. The PNM won 20, two in Tobago where the population is almost exclusively African, ten in constituencies with more than 50 per cent African, five in areas where the African vote was slightly larger than the Indian, and two in communities where the two groups were numerically almost equal.”