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PM speaks at length to general council about Tuesday’s meeting

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday spoke “at length” on the meeting between himself and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar scheduled for Tuesday.

Chairman of the People’s National Movement (PNM) Franklin Khan said the Prime Minister took the opportunity to inform the general council of the basis of Tuesday’s agenda.

Khan said, “The basis is simple yet profound. These are legislative issues that require a special majority so it is incumbent upon the Prime Minister and the leader of the Government to engage the Opposition Leader early in the game to discuss and see if some consensus can be reached on these very, very important national issues.”

Among some of the items on the agenda are self-governance for Tobago; anti-gang legislation; matters pertaining to the Judiciary; campaign finance reform and Service Commissions.

He was speaking to the media at yesterday’s post-General Council meeting at Balisier House. Also in attendance were public relations officer Stuart Young and assistant general secretary Daniel Dookie.

Khan said three items were focused on in greater detail—self-governance for Tobago, campaign finance reform and a Code of Conduct for parliamentarians. He said these three were party policies.

On campaign finance reform, Young said, “Out of the AG’s office we are looking at draft legislation but as the chairman has said, the Prime Minister is asking the Leader of the Opposition to discuss this.

“We as a party and in particular, as a Government are prepared to take the legislation to Parliament and to pass it as we can in this term. It requires a special majority.”

Young said the Government was trying to follow what happened in Jamaica when the two political parties met outside of the Parliament.

“They met, they sat, they talked and came out with a joint set of ideas and then took it to Parliament. That is the approach we are taking.”

Questioned on whether any matters pertaining to the Judicial and Legal Service Commission were discussed, Young said the PM spoke about it but “without much detail”.

Again, he said it was up for discussion between Rowley and Persad-Bissessar “to see what comes”.

Young said, “As the Prime Minister told us in General Council, very preliminary advice has been given to him but he wants to hold proper discussions with the Leader of the Opposition to see what can happen.”

The PNM is expected to host its 47th annual convention in November.


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