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Kamla adds to Rowley’s agenda

Trinidad Express / WHILE Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has rolled out a list of seven items for discussion at the private meeting Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has agreed to attend on Tuesday, she intends to include the issues of crime, jobs and the economy.

Persad-Bissessar said she believes these to be of critical importance to the people of this country at this time.

She said yesterday she was “disappointed” they were not on Rowley’s list but she intends to pursue them.

A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister in Port of Spain yesterday morning stated, “Upon her acceptance to meet, Mrs Persad Bissessar requested an agenda which was provided. The items listed for discussion were: internal self-government for Tobago, campaign finance reform, anti-gang legislation, difficulty within the judiciary-JLSC matter, the Integrity Commission, service commissions effectiveness (and) code of conduct for Members of Parliament.

“The Opposition Leader has gone on to request that crime, the economy and jobs be included in the agenda. However, Prime Minister (Dr Keith) Rowley has made it clear that the items on the agenda are those carded to go before the Parliament which require a special majority.

“It is in an effort to obtain Parliamentary collaboration as a way forward that the meeting is being held. In this regard, jobs and the economy do not fall into the category of items to be discussed. However, some discussion on crime could be entertained under the agenda item of anti-gang legislation.”


We can talk


Persad-Bissessar said she was told that the economy and jobs were not part of the remit of parliamentary support but there could be conversation on it.

“He asked for the meeting, he has set the agenda. He said we could have conversations but it (seems) he has a fixed position in his mind that it should confine itself only to things that require parliamentary majority. That may be well so but I will endeavour to raise issues that I think touch and concern the everyday lives of our citizens crime jobs, economy…This is not to gainsay the other issues raised but those issues would not really bring any immediate benefit to people on a one and one basis. The other issues on the agenda are important and of course, we will talk about them but I think the two most crucial remain crime and jobs and the economy. So I intend to raise those matters,” she said.


‘The Four Faces of Woman Dialogue’


Persad-Bissessar made the comments while speaking at the “The Four Faces of Woman Dialogue” hosted by the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Organisation at Pointe-a-Pierre Road, San Fernando yesterday.

She said, “Whilst the issues listed (by Rowley) are matters of importance, I was disappointed that I didn’t see issues that would be of immediate benefit to persons so I responded to his email and I said please add onto the agenda the issue of crime and the issue of jobs and the economy.

“I feel these are two critical areas in our nation at this time. In fact crime is the number one issue…The other matters as I say buzz words, good governance issues, Integrity Commission, Service Commission and so on, they are good buzz words but the devil is in the details and I go with an open mind…and take decisions accordingly.”

Persad-Bissessar said she also intends to raise the issue of the 53 court matters involving former Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar.

She said she will explain to the Prime Minister why she believes there is a particular direction that can be taken to go forward.

A member of staff from the Opposition office is expected to accompany Persad-Bissessar at the meeting. The Opposition Leader was unable to say how long the meeting will last as she said she is attending at the Prime Minister’s request.

The OPM release earlier yesterday added, “The Prime Minister looks forward to productive and fruitful discussions on these matters which require the engagement of the Opposition in the Parliament. The Prime Minister is of the view that this approach is in the best interest of the nation and will redound to the benefit of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.”

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