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Restoring the Primacy of Parliament
Posted: Monday, June 14, 2010

THE EDITOR: Hitherto Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar has performed at her brilliant best. The PM has effectively, clearly and convincingly transmitted the ethical bases and the people-centred governance values and priority that will pilot and drive her new administration.

This is a breath of fresh air. It has energized, renewed and lifted our flagging spirits. Effective 24 January Kamla has been on a roller-coaster. Was this the alleged weak leader? She has rescued and pulled back T&T from plunging down the edge of a fiscal, economic, social, moral and spiritual cliff.

Psychologically speaking the flowers have started to bloom again. The hills are alive with the sound of music — with chutney and soca — with pulsating tassa and seductive pan — with the cosmic music of the spheres. God is a Trinbagonian. Kamlamania has restored our faith in Him. Calling Him is a local call once again.

Kamla's decision to insist that the taking of the requisite parliamentary oath on June 18 as a pre-condition to Ministers travelling abroad to undertake our international relations responsibilities is a powerful signal that her Administration will be rigidly adhering to and restoring the primacy of Parliament. Parliament is the seat of all power and political legitimacy.

In the current post May 24 political environment the brave and independent foreign policy decision taken to forego participation in the Barbados meeting with Clinton is a decision to be commended — not condemned.

The Obama Administration and Secretary of State Clinton will respect our return to adhering to the tenets of real parliamentary democracy especially when the previous Administration did every thing permissible to diminish the status of Parliament. Even a PNM Woodford Square Meeting took precedence over Parliament and disturbed the proceedings of Parliament. But when peaceful marchers undertook a legitimate picket of Parliament during the rushed property tax debate they were subjected to police brutality and their leader arrested.

This is not the first time that T&T opted out of a diplomatic Barbados meeting when a high ranking US representative summoned us there.

Our policy must be one of constructive and selective engagement with the outside world based on respect for the will and the overriding interests of the people who are the real government of T&T.


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