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London looks at legal option against PM on Tobago bill
If Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar fails to meet with Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), Orville London, she may be in breach of the constitution. So said London at a press conference he held at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. The press conference was held to highlight the THA’s displeasure over ongoing initiatives to do with Tobago self-government. “This is the third time I will be asking the Prime Minister for a meeting to discuss these issues, and I want you to understand that the Prime Minister might in fact be breaking the law by her consistent refusal to meet with me,” he added. London said he would try to use all options available to him before pursuing legal action, and added that even though it might be a last resort, he was not afraid to use that option if the PM did not meet with him soon. London said he had already submitted correspondence containing the THA proposed bill for self-governance and letters that he had written on the matter to the Prime Minister and to Dr Hamid Ghany, the chairman of consultations on internal self-government for Tobago.
There are many differences between the proposed People’s Partnership structure for self-governance and the THA model, which was formulated over a four-year period, 2005-2009, he added.
London said he believed the central Government was not really including the people of Tobago in the tough decisions to be made on self-governance. This could be seen in the response that the Government had been getting so far from the people at its consultations, which, he said, was just a little over a hundred people, as compared to almost 6,000 people who had responded to the THA’s model for self-governance. That meant the people of Tobago wanted to have their voices heard, London added. The chief secretary said he believed he was being very reasonable in requesting meetings with Persad-Bissessar because he did not believe Tobagonians should be debating on two separate approaches to self-governance.
He said all he was asking for was for the THA’s proposed bill to be made public so that it could be properly debated. He added: “I have submitted to the chairman of the Law Reform Commission and to the Prime Minister, the following documents: “I have submitted the Tobago Bill, copies of the petition and copies of the list of things that they want,” London said he hoped the Government would not reject the vision the people of Tobago have for their island. “Is it reasonable that the Government that accepted to care about the people, that came into power on the mantra of hearing the people, is going to be prepared to reject this appeal that I have made to the Prime Minister?” he asked.
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