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Dr Rambachan to Rowley: Stop politicking reform

suruj passportTHE issues of constitutional reform must not be played with or pulled into a ‘political tit-for-tat’ and the Leader of the Opposition must be mature enough to put the interests of the people Trinidad & Tobago in front of his personal and party interests. This according to Minister of Works and Infrastructure, Dr Suruj Rambachan.

Minister Rambachan weighed in on the public debate on constitutional reform saying: “We all know what Dr Rowley is going to say and continue saying. The Government was very careful to ensure that the issues were fully ventilated and this is why the consultation process was so extensive. We preferred more time in consultation rather than rushing any part of reform.”

“This is why the position of the Leader of the Opposition is so unsettling. It’s nothing new that he has taken reforms which the people of our country have called for, and made it into some kind of clandestine machination and has refused to support the new measures.”

The Minister called on Dr Rowley to answer pertinent questions before trying to “turn an issue of national progress into a political fight”, saying: “Is it that he is saying that the citizens are ganging up on the PNM?  Is it that he is saying that more democracy will hurt the PNM? Because if this is the case, Dr Rowley would need to concern himself with fixing his party before he tries to prevent the Government from fixing our country.”

The Minister further questioned: “Is it that he is saying that it is more important to foist reforms proposed by the PNM, which were designed by a partisan committee of four people, and set aside reforms that were facilitated by eminent, independent citizens who consulted extensively with members of the public?”

On Dr Rowley expressing surprise over the new measures, the Minister said: “The Leader of the Opposition has been aware of this report in its entirety, including the run-off provision, for months. To now try a fast one and use the argument that he was surprised by the reforms is a deliberate misrepresentation.”

“Dr Rowley has done and said what everyone expected, his comments are predictable. But this is not a time to try to exert political domination and cheap partisan positions, this is a time when we must be sitting together and agreeing that the people and country must be held as our highest priority.”

Minister Rambachan also cautioned the Opposition Leader on trying to derail constitutional reforms, as he did before. “The nation knows that reforms are not new.  The Prime Minister has championed reforms before for Tobago governance and for Local Government and the Leader of the Opposition was equally disagreeable without being to put forward any logical argument or alternatives.”

“The Government promised reforms, because it’s what citizens wanted. They wanted the process to be capably and carefully managed.  Citizens want to know that they are more important than the partisan views of political parties.  And this is what Dr Rowley is doing – he is saying that the PNM prefers to dominate the people, rather than to listen to the people allow them to have influence over their own future.”

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