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Letter to the Editor: It is fake news that AG’s remarks were ominous

“The AG explained that he was adopting that approach in order to advance the work of the Government, given that since the PNM replaced the the UNC in Government, the UNC has been very uncooperative in supporting any legislation which requires a special majority in Parliament—in a concerted attempt to frustrate the work of the Government for political reasons.

“The AG never indicated that he was going to abolish the existing requirement for certain types of legislation which affects people’s fundamental rights, to be passed with a special majority.”

The following Letter to the Editor on recent statements by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi was submitted by Louis Winston Williams:

Photo: PNM Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi. (Copyright Elections.TT)
Photo: PNM Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.
(Copyright Elections.TT)

If the matter was not so serious, I would be amused by what I heard on television from a political commentator on one of the morning shows, on Wednesday 15 February 2017.

In reference to the Attorney General’s remarks at the conference hosted by the Association of Real Estate Agents (AREA) on the previous day, the political commentator gave me the impression that what the AG said amounted to an attempt to subvert our democracy, the Constitution and the Rule of Law. His view was echoed by UNC spokespersons later on that day.

In a story that appeared in the Trinidad Express on 15 February, Ms Camille Hunte reported that the AG, in commenting on the legislation he intends to bring to Parliament, stated that: ‘Ninety percent of them have been fashioned so that we don’t need to call upon the Opposition for a three-fifths majority…’

However, Ms Hunte also reported that the AG added that the move would not be infringing on any rights.

The AG explained that he was adopting that approach in order to advance the work of the Government, given that since the PNM replaced the the UNC in Government, the UNC has been very uncooperative in supporting any legislation which requires a special majority in Parliament—in a concerted attempt to frustrate the work of the Government for political reasons.

Photo: Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi (right) shares his views at the Transparency Institute anti-corruption conference on 8 March 2016. (Copyright Shaun Rambaran/forge.co.tt)
Photo: Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi (right) shares his views at the Transparency Institute anti-corruption conference on 8 March 2016.
(Copyright Shaun Rambaran/forge.co.tt)

The AG never indicated that he was going to abolish the existing requirement for certain types of legislation which affects people’s fundamental rights, to be passed with a special majority. The AG also did not say that no legislation requiring a special majority will be brought to Parliament.

He referred to: ‘Ninety percent of them…’

The AG’s remarks were pellucidly clear and unambiguous. I dare say that the very negative interpretation given to such innocuous remarks must be seen as contemptuous, very unfortunate and clearly designed to bring the Government, in general, and the AG, in particular, into odium and disrepute.

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One comment

  1. Earl Best

    Of course, the UNC spokesperson is well aware that his constituency is not about to examine the underpinnings of any statement he makes. He knows that he will find fertile ground for his phlegm no matter where he expectorates.

    Therefore, you, Louis, can analyse and explain and refute all you want, Mr UNC Spokesperson will remain smugly satisfied with the contribution he has made.

    And to doubtless loud applause, will identify it as “positive” on the hustings when the next elections come along.

    Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.