Government will undertake a comprehensive review of the economy, its legislative agenda and other matters next Wednesday at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s. On Monday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley instructed all government MPs and senators to attend a one-day retreat there on Ash Wednesday. This news came during a brief meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) in St Clair, which began at 3 pm and ended an hour later.
Information provided to Newsday by the OPM said, “Cabinet meets to review the economy, the legislative agenda (including the fight against crime) and the development programme.” The OPM said the meeting will begin at 10 am “and finish late afternoon.” One of the issues which could be discussed at the meeting is a proposal to bring the Anti-Gang Bill 2017 back to Parliament.
The bill was defeated in the House of Representatives on December 7 last year, when the Opposition refused to support it. Minister in the OPM Stuart Young has said Government will be willing to consider a motion to waive the requirement under the Standing Orders that the bill cannot be brought back to Parliament within a six-month period. Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said the Opposition is willing to consider such a motion.
There will also be discussions related to initiatives outlined in the 2017/2018 budget. The retreat also comes at a time when a NACTA poll showed falling public support for Government, as well as a plethora of anti-government songs at last Saturday’s Calypso Fiesta in Skinner Park.
The OPM has received several letters and e-mails from people living in certain People’s National Movement (PNM) constituencies who have complained about the performance of their respective MPs not being attentive to constituents’ concerns or not present enough in the constituency.
A source said Rowley felt the retreat was important so that MPs and senators can assess and improve on their respective performances. The Prime Minister hopes that coming out of the retreat, government parliamentarians would be more connected to issues happening on the ground and more responsive to concerns of the people they represent.
A second source said government parliamentarians are looking forward to the meeting as it presents “opportunities to review, bond, improve and reset.”