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Wednesday 22 May 2019
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Bas calls for new Constitution

Firing of Smith

Former prime minister Basdeo Panday believes Parliament should be separate from the executive. “The executive should not be in the Parliament. No politician should have a Constitution to look after, but should be looking after the entire nation. We need to change the Constitution of these rules,” Panday said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

Panday was commenting on the the dismissal of former sport minister Darryl Smith when Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley advised President Paula-Mae Weekes to revoke his appointment on Tuesday. “There were no right or wrong decisions, he had to shuffle around the cards. If you shuffle a pack of cards, someone may ask if you made a right decision.

“It doesn’t matter. The shuffling of cards does not really allow for his removal. The Parliament should be separate from the executive,” Panday said. He added that the political system did not allow people to have any say in how Government is run and because of the political system itself, the prime minister had little choice in his decision.

“Even if he is removed as a minister, he still remains a member of Parliament, but then the Prime Minister has to think about how many ministries he has, against how many members he has. So that whole system is ludicrous and totally irrelevant to our present-day circumstances. What we need is constitutional reform,” Panday said.

He said this did not mean ministers should be shuffled around every week even though there were allegations against them. “He was elected, not selected, so the Prime Minister has the choice to remove him from one ministry to another or given no ministry at all.” Panday said the formation of a new political party could only succeed if it guaranteed constitutional reform.

“The entire political system is rotten and has to be changed. It has to be changed by constitutional reform, but neither the present Government nor the Opposition want constitutional reform because they prefer to conduct the election on ethnic and racial sympathy. The people should demand constitutional reform,” Panday said.

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