The People's National Movement (PNM) will embark on constitution reform, create a revenue authority for greater efficiency in tax collection and rehaul the social welfare system to cut down on state dependency immediately upon assuming office in 2015.Tobago will also be granted internal self governance, there will be an abolition of appeals to the Privy Council, the institution of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the final court of appeal and investment in the development of the city of Port-of-Spain.
These are some of the plans contained in the PNM's Vision 2030 policy document and in a National Election Contract disclosed by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley at the party's 45th annual convention at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.Rowley announced the plans in the party's policy document, "The Road Ahead to 2030, Building a Nation, Together."He said while the PNM's position remains that the 1976 Republican Constitution has served T&T well, reform may be required."We will embark on that process immediately on getting into office so that there is enough time for consultation, analysis and debate to take place before the reforms go to Parliament."
Areas of Constitution reform will include:
�2 Internal Self Government for Tobago and the nature of the unitary state of T&T.
�2 Abolition of appeals to the Privy Council and instituting the CCJ as our final appellate court
�2 The role and functions of the service commissions
�2 Appointment of a commissioner of police
�2 The role and functions of the Salaries Review Commission
�2 The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the exercise of prosecutorial authority in relation to white collar crime
�2 Electoral system reform
�2 Clarification of the role and powers of the President.
Rowley said among the challenges the PNM will face is the issue of state dependency by "millionaire and scrunter" alike.He said a raft of welfare support and other programmes resulting from oil revenues had engendered the "deep underbelly of chronic dependency" seen today in particular sections of the society. "Too many people, from millionaire to scrunter, have become entirely dependent on the state," he said."In fact we now have some CEPEP contracts which have been captured by businessmen who obtain the contracts and make considerable profit from them while providing little or no training or improvements for workers nor any migrating of their companies from the programme."If, and I daresay when oil prices and energy sector revenues collapse, we will not be able to maintain these expenditures and the social consequences might be dire."
A Rowley-led government will create a tax authority to maximise revenue collection, he said.And while the PNM supports the development of different regions in T&T, the capital city must be treated like a capital city. "While we will support and encourage planned regional development in Trinidad and in Tobago, as well as the sensible decentralisation of government services, we will continue to invest in the development of the capital city of Port-of-Spain," he said, noting the People's Partnership Government is, at present, spending billions to upgrade Chaguanas to city status.Rowley said crime was a challenge the PNM will also have to face, especially murders."The response here is to train and sustain, at all levels from parent to commissioner," he said.