Kamla: UNC made Government lay EBC report in Parliament

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar – File photo by Angelo Marcelle

Claiming vindication after what was described as “consistent pressure from the UNC,” Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar in a statement claimed Government will lay the Elections and Boundaries Commission’s (EBC) 2024 report in Parliament on Monday.

The statement said, late on Friday evening, Government indicated through a parliamentary order paper that it would lay the report in Parliament on April 8.

Persad-Bissessar said, “This follows my recent threats of legal action and a formal query to the EBC.”

The EBC report is a review of the constituency boundaries which it reviews before an election. It provides data on the distribution of the electorate in existing electoral districts recommended and the number of electors proposed for each district. It also gives a description of the boundaries of proposed electoral districts.

The statement said the UNC had been calling for Government to lay the 2024 report for parliamentary scrutiny and debate, which the Opposition Leader said was due in March.

Persad-Bissessar said she formally wrote to the EBC’s CEO and commissioners seeking clarification on whether it had supplied the report, and received a response that the report was submitted on March 13.

“This means that the Rowley Government has had this crucial EBC report in its possession for nearly a month now,” Persad-Bissessar said.

Al-Rawi: Storm in a teacup

Newsday’s check of the Parliament’s website revealed no scheduled upcoming sittings in the House of Representatives or the Senate, nor any new order papers up to press time on Sunday.

The most recent sittings listed on the Parliament’s website were on March 22 in the House and March 26 in the Senate.

Minister of Rural Development and former attorney general Faris Al-Rawi confirmed to Newsday that there was no sitting scheduled for Monday.

“I noted what Mrs Persad-Bissessar had to say, and all I can say is this is a storm in a teacup with someone searching for relevance and distraction.

“EBC reports are always laid. Nobody compels anyone to lay the report. And there is ample time for the debate of that.

“There is no sitting of the Parliament tomorrow (April 8) as far as I am aware. If not, the order paper will go out in its usual time.”

Newsday tried to reach Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives, Camille Robinson-Regis, but calls to her phone and messages sent via WhatsApp went unanswered up to press time.