Senator: Don't sacrifice democracy over covid19

OPPOSITION Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial has criticised Government and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi for making laws that interfere with the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens without any accountability to Parliament.

"Your elected representatives have had no input into these draconian laws," she said.

Lutchmedial was speaking Monday night during the UNC's virtual report. She recalled that during debate on legislation to make the wearing of masks mandatory, both the Opposition and independent senators asked Government to bring the regulations to Parliament for debate but the excuse for not doing this was "expediency."

She cited the ruling made by Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh earlier this month on two constitutional claims which challenged the validity of the coronavirus public health regulations. Boodoosingh ruled as unlawful covid19 regulations which make it a criminal offence if someone breaches the guidelines for places of worship.

She also noted the judge told the AG there should be the input of Parliament (in the regulations). "You cannot hide behind a dangerous infectious disease and leave the Parliament, Opposition and independent bench out of making laws."

Lutchmedial also said Al-Rawi was branding everyone who brought legitimate litigation against the legislation as "UNC lawyers." She called on everyone in TT to remain vigilant and said the rule of law must prevail to preserve democracy.

"The rule of law is a restriction on the arbitrary exercise of power. Do not sacrifice our democracy because you fear covid and you fear the pandemic. Do not let the fear of the virus doom you into accepting that everything being done is being done to keep you safe.

"You have to keep yourself safe as best you can. But you understand that no person or entity should be empowered to reign supreme via dictates because of a health crisis. And the PNM government asked for a mandate to govern and you must hold them accountable to govern."


"Senator: Don’t sacrifice democracy over covid19"

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