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Ramadhar: Constitution changes before 2015 polls
Acting Prime Minister and Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar says the recommendations of the Constitution Commission must be implemented before the 2015 general election. Ramadhar was answering questions yesterday after presenting the 47-page document to stakeholders and the media at his office in South Quay, Port-of-Spain. He also presented a copy of the report to President Anthony Carmona yesterday.
He said the Cabinet looked at the report recently and agreed to have it put out for public consultations in February. Ramadhar, who is chairman of the commission, said four more public consultations would be held next month—one each in Port-of-Spain, San Fernando, Chaguanas and Tobago—for adjustments and will be taken back to Cabinet for final approval. He said the legislation will then be drafted and debated to become law. Some of the recommendations were fundamental in nature, he said, but the people wanted the changes.
Ramadhar said the changes will provide a better check and balance on the Executive, but the Opposition would seek to criticise the report to “cheapen the effort.” But he told reporters yesterday,“This is not a political document. Those who do not want to have change will resist it at all costs.” Ramadhar said less than half of the $20 million budgetary allocation for the project had been spent so far. More than 60,000 copies of the report have been prepared.
Ramadhar said the issue of the burning landfill at Beetham will be discussed in Cabinet today with a view to implementing a long-term solution, and it was sad that schools in the city had to suspend classes yesterday because of the smoke from the landfill. Ramadhar, who is the leader of the Congress of the People—a member of the People’s Partnership—said the party’s national executive election was scheduled for July and would be held on time.