ATTORNEYS AGREE: ILP MOTION ON CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT BILL PREMATURE
The Constitution Amendment Bill, 2014 continues to draw some mixed reviews and Justice Frank Seepersad’s ruling on Monday, in favour of the State against ILP members at the High Court, has opened up new discussions.
Speaking on Good Morning T&T on Tuesday, Attorneys Wayne Sturge and Martin George are of the view that the ILP is threatened by changes to the country’s Constitution.
Mr. George said while the ILP’s decision to challenge the Bill might have been premature because the legislation is not yet law, it is possible that the party felt threatened by the Run-off provision.
“One can understand the anxiety which the ILP may feel in regards to this particular legislation because when you look at it, they would feel that they are the ones who have the most to lose from such a provision becoming law.”
The Attorney believes the Run-off provision may present a win-win situation for the country’s democracy, if in fact an instant Run-off were to be presented.
Mr. George explained that the instant provision will allow voters the opportunity to rank candidates when they vote on Election Day and this would avoid voters having to return to the polls for a second time.
“There are persons who felt or expressed the view that they are being left out if their candidate is not there in the second lot. So that is why I am saying if we simply have one round of election, with the instant Run-off where you rank the candidates, then nobody could complain and say ‘I didn’t get a second chance’ so it may be a possible opportunity to get a win-win and still have the Run-off provision by doing it in the instant Run-off. You rank the candidate, so you put Number 1 against your preferred choice, you put Number 2 against who you would want as a second choice.”
On Monday, Justice Seepersad ruled in favor of the State on the grounds that the ILP’s Constitutional challenge was brought prematurely.
In a media release, the ILP indicated that the party plans to appeal the judge’s ruling.
However, Attorney Wayne Sturge said this action would be a waste because the Bill has not yet become law.
“I don’t know how far they will get. The point is the court has to await the passage of the Bill through all three stages, which includes the assent.”
The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was passed in both Houses of Parliament last month.
Following amendments made during the Senate debate, the Bill will now be sent back to the House of Representatives for concurrence. A Motion will be placed on the Order Paper asking the House to agree to the amendments.
Written by C News