22 Jul 2008


While I join with those who have said, "Well done, Mr Speaker," for eventually referring the Government to the Committee of Privileges for contempt, I have my doubts. And why did he allow Minister Arnold Piggott to finish his "tedious" speech (29 minutes) before telling Ministers to come to the point quickly and do not waste time?

Whence cometh this seemingly newfound impartiality? I agree with COP's Prakash Ramadhar that this is "nothing but (another) distraction." A distraction from, among other issues haunting the PNM, the recent revelation by Prime Minister Manning of a ghost-authored working document on constitution reform.

It is because of this scepticism and not that the Speaker has 'courage' that I believe Prof John La Guerre when he said, the Speaker will keep his job. If indeed he acted courageously, he would have had to 'run and hide' there and then!

As far as our Constitution is concerned, I believe that we should fix the deficiencies and shortcomings of the present one, rather than throw it out the window. Why totally change what has worked relatively well for us? We should be striving to strengthen our democracy as far as accountability, transparency, meritocracy, equality and the rule of law are concerned. Checks and balances should be the order of the day. Most of all, prime ministerial powers should not be increased but contained, so that we do not end up with a de facto dictator. It should not be a PNM, UNC or COP constitution, but one for the people.

K Maharaj

Via e-mail