Advisory committee to tackle constitutional reform

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. –

FORTY-EIGHT YEARS after the last significant change in the country’s Constitution, the Government is seriously looking into constitutional reform.

At a post-Cabinet press conference at Whitehall on Thursday, the Prime Minister announced the Cabinet’s approval of the appointment of an advisory committee to formulate terms of reference for a national consultation on constitutional reform.

Dr Rowley believed it was an appropriate time to evaluate, amend and generally upgrade the Constitution, as many people had called for it.

“What Cabinet approved as an advisory committee to formulate the terms of reference and to make recommendations to Cabinet within three months of its appointment for the promoting and convening of a national constitutional conference and consultation in June of 2024, taking into consideration the diverse nature of our national society, its historical evolution, and the progress made in nationhood since attaining independence and republican status, and matters related thereto.”

He said the committee should incorporate and outline the parameters of the subject matter for national debate and the engagement of the widest cross-section of persons and bodies representing the citizenry, including the diaspora.

“These are not people being asked to craft a constitution. They are simply being asked to facilitate and advance a national discourse on the subject and to be the sounding board, the post office, into which any and all interested parties, agencies (and) organisations will want to put their views to this facility advisory committee.”

He said the committee members will get the support and resources to conduct open consultations and collate and draft a working document for the constitutional conference in June, where proposed amendments will be discussed.

He encouraged all citizens to participate in a civilised manner to come up with changes that would better serve the people of TT.

The seven-member committee:Chairman: former Speaker of the House Barendra Sinanan, SCFormer Central Bank Governor Dr Terrence FarrellFormer Tobago House of Assembly chief administrator Raye SandyFormer Clerk of the House Jacqui Sampson-MeiguelFormer Public Service Commission chairman and permanent secretary in the Agriculture Ministry Winston RudderFormer Speaker Nizam MohammedAccountant Hema Narinesingh.