Last update: 11-Dec-2013 6:16 am
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Opposition blanks Government
After a marathon 17-hour sitting in Parliament, the Opposition yesterday voted against the Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill 2013. The PNM voted 13 against, with 22 going in favour of the Government. The bill which intends to amend the Municipal Corporation Act 1990, in a bid to introduce a system of proportional representation for the election of aldermen will be debated in Senate on Tuesday.
Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner and St Joseph MP Herbert Volney were absent when the Lower House cast their votes around 3 am. Both MPs were seen earlier in Parliament. In delivering his contribution, Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh told the Opposition that they had no moral authority to talk about proportional representation and accused them of postponing local government elections four times, between 2006 and 2009, under the pretext that they were seeking local government reform.
“The first time the PNM spoke about the reform was in 2002. They produced a Green Paper in 2004 and a White Paper in 2006.” Gopeesingh said the PNM also postponed the election three times from 1962 to 1968, which was morally wrong. He said former prime minister Patrick Manning had sought the advice of a Jamaican consultant on reform during his tenure.
The consultant, who Gopeesingh named as Hamilton, was supposed to write a report before local government election, which taxpayers had paid for. Gopeesingh said to this date, the country had not seen the report, even though they had requested it several times. “So you robbed citizens of this country from their democratic right. Postponement is in the PNM’s DNA, and today you are asking us about our reform.”
Arguing that proportional representation was the future of world politics, Gopeesingh lauded the PP Government for taking the first step of bringing the issue to the fore.
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