12:11 am – Shaune Fraser leyó: TRINIDAD Y TOBAGO: Carmona pushes for new laws

Shaune Fraser leyó: / TRINIDAD Y TOBAGO: Carmona pushes for new laws / News day / The President revealed in his address to the inauguration of the 11th Parliament yesterday that it is his intention to advertise locally, regionally and internationally for such an official under the present procurement legislation.

This particular aspect of the procurement legislation was of concern to the PNM during the recent election campaign, with Political Leader, now Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley expressing his dissent when he addressed a meeting with the Joint Consultative Council (JCC) for the Construction Industry and also during the launch of the PNM manifesto for the 2015 General Election.

Attorney General, Faris Al-Rawi, recounted the party’s position yesterday during a conversation with the media following the President’s speech and the formal ceremonies in the Parliament at Tower D on the Portof- Spain Waterfront.

The Attorney General confirmed his ministry was already looking at possible amendments to the new procurement law in relation to the specific area of the procurement regulator.

“Procurement legislation is something which we had the pleasure of supporting until we went to the House and spotted two caveats which we wanted to attend to,” Al-Rawi said. “One was the protection of the procurement regulator and secondly the disposition of State land which is not included in the Act as present. Powers that are within the Ministry of the Attorney General are hard at looking at some of those legislative outfitting.” Al-Rawi recalled the PNM had clear objections to arrangements in relation to the procurement regulator, including how the post-holder could be dismissed.

“The fact that Cabinet, by itself, could dismiss the procurement regulator was the objection,” Al-Rawi said. “That is what we had addressed in the House. His Excellency, the President, would not have a reason for the dismissal of a procurement regulator, so there are some second looks that you would have to have to the legislation and certainly in relation to how it is operationalised. There have been some operationalisation nightmares coming forward from the last five years and we are also looking at some of those.” The President cited procurement legislation among issues which he said had become quite prominent in Trinidad and Tobago.

He also mentioned campaign finance legislation, saying these two “must be prioritised in this 11th Parliament.” The two issues were also among a swathe of laws that the President called special attention to during his address.

Carmona saw all these in the context of constitutional reform which he said must be transformational.

“1962, Ladies and Gentlemen, is not 2015,” he told MPs and the several special guests on hand to witness the ceremonial opening including Judges of the Supreme Court, former Parliamentarians, members of the diplomatic corps, local government officials, and leaders of the private sector.

“What new body of laws therefore would you the members of the 11th Parliament bequeath to our future citizens?” the President asked rhetorically during his address.

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“Would you use your law-making powers to enact legislation for the sustainable development of Trinidad and Tobago solely based on myopic or parochial considerations? Or would you ensure that you introduce Bills which ultimately become Acts of Parliament by seeking to situate the development of Trinidad and Tobago in the context of global norms and mores, which can be implemented directly or customised to suit our national situation?” He couched his questions to the Parliamentarians against the backdrop of what he termed” ´a much needed conversation with the soul of the nation.” “In each of our lives we have different philosophies we live by,” Carmona said, “But I wish to promote in real terms the philosophy of genuine service, the benefits of national pride, service to people, community, the nation and the world.

What therefore is your philosophy as a Parliamentarian? And this you must determine now at the start of your stewardship.” He suggested that we in Trinidad and Tobago must also have a vision for our sustainable development in a world which continues to change ever so rapidly before our eyes, at every opportunity.

“Are we going to ensure that the laws passed by this Parliament take into consideration the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed to by the United Nations for a new development agenda for the next 15 years?” the President asked, noting that these goals will replace the millennium development goals which expire at the end of this year.

“It is my sincere hope that the post 2015 development agenda that will be adopted by world leaders at a summit which begins at United Nations Headquarters in New York this very Friday September 25, would influence our own development agenda for the next 15 years,” Carmona said. “We may very well need to revise and update our manifestos.

These SDGs emphasise the importance of the social, economic and environmental aspects of development to the national development of States.” He said he had examined the SDGs and found them to be a useful and instructive benchmark on which Trinidad and Tobago could centre its own development agenda.

The President called on the Parliamentarians to pay greater attention to the passage of implementing legislation to give domestic legal effect to legally binding international obligations which flow from treaties and other international agreements to which Trinidad and Tobago is a State Party.

“As a country, ratifying or acceding to treaties is not enough,” Carmona noted. “This 11th Parliament of the people of Trinidad and Tobago, should not allow five years to elapse without the enactment of legislation to give effect domestically to, for example, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the country ratified on June 25 of this year. Any failure to domesticate the provisions of this landmark Convention would impair in a fundamental way, the rights of some of our citizens who are differently-abled, but who continue to make an invaluable contribution to national development.”

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