Communications Minister Jamal Mohammed said it was not expected the Tobago House of Assembly Bill and the Tobago Constitution Amendment Bill would be passed in both Houses of Parliament before the January 21 THA election.
The legislation was seeking to amend the T&T Constitution to allow for internal self-government for the people of Tobago.
The bills will be laid in the House of Representatives by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on January 7 and debate will begin one week later on January 16.
The measure is expected to be passed in the House of Representatives as the Government has the required special majority.
Debate was expected to take place in the Senate the week after the election. The Government is not guaranteed the required two-third support for passage of the bill in the Upper House as the Opposition PNM was not
expected to support it.
It is unclear on how the nine Independents would vote.
Speaking during yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair, Mohammed said the Cabinet-appointed committee, led by UWI’s Dr Hamid Ghany, received proposals from the Orville London-led THA and those proposals were considered in the formation of the recommendations to the Cabinet.
Questioned about the timing of the debate, during a heated election campaign, Mohammed said the bills were the fulfilment of a manifesto promise by the People’s Partnership Government.
He said the Tobago Organisation of the People, which is the main party seeking to unseat London’s PNM, joined the partnership on the basis of the granting of internal self- government to Tobago by the PP.
He added: “So this is something that had been promised. It is coming now because now is the time for it. It is what the people of Tobago deserve.
“It was promised to the people of Tobago by Mr (Ashworth) Jack and we are delivering now for and on behalf of Trinidad and Tobago.”
Meanwhile Mohammed also said that all systems were go for the start of the new school term next Monday. He said renovations of schools which were not completed during the Christmas vacation would continue on
Meanwhile, Labour Minister Errol McLeod said the system of determining the unemployment rate was being reviewed and a more accurate system was to be implemented.
He said legislation was being prepared to ensure people injured on the jobsite were able to be compensated in a more adequate and timely fashion. McLeod also said he expected the year to be more productive and peaceful that last year.
He spoke of the need for a new approach to collective bargaining where the unions or the employers would seek to initiate the process in a more timely fashion.