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Constitutional reform talks start next week
Five people with impeccable credentials have been chosen for the Constitutional Reform Commission that starts work next week. They are Justice Sebastian Ventour, activist and academic Dr Merle Hodge, political analyst Dr Hamid Ghany, Tobago hotelier Carlos Dillon and retired High Court judge Amrika Tiwary-Reddy. Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar will chair the commission.
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and Justice Minister Christlyn Moore will also sit on it. In a telephone interview, Ramadhar’s communications and policy adviser Cheryl Lala said the five were chosen not only because of their service to T&T but because they were people who had gained the respect of citizens. She said the ministry also wanted to select people who were representative of T&T.
She added: "These people were chosen because we do not want people to feel intimidated in any way.” Despite the panel’s sterling academic credentials, Lala said, these “are people everyone can relate to.” The consultations are expected to kick off with a launch on Saturday and the actual consultations will begin on Monday at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya, from 5 pm.
There will be 17 consultations with 14 in Trinidad and three in Tobago. "Everyone is invited to the consultations," Lala said. Submissions on constitutional reform can be made in two ways, written and oral. Written suggestions can be sent by mail or e-mail or delivered in person at the consultation. People attending the consultations will be given three minutes to make an oral submission. Digital recorders will be available for taping and for submitting longer contributions.
Lala said while the ministry planned to host public consultations for NGOs and chambers of commerce, those groups were also invited to attend the public consultations. After the consultations are completed on May 4, the ministry hopes to complete a draft of the recommendations for reform as quickly as possible.
Public consultations schedule:
March 4: Tunapuna/Piarco region.
March 6: San Juan/Laventille.
March 9: Arima.
March 11: Sangre Grande.
March 13: Mayaro/Rio Claro
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