Day three of the public consultation on the draft Tobago Self-Government Bill 2020 and the Tobago Island Administration Bill 2021, on Monday, was cancelled after just four people registered for the virtual session.
The joint select committee (JSC) told those who had applied to contribute that “unfortunately not enough persons have applied for Monday’s session. As a result, the committee invites you to kindly submit your comments in writing.”
The JSC, chaired by Minister of Planning and Development Camille Robinson- Regis, has been meeting with Tobagonians, virtually and in person, at the Victor E Bruce Financial Complex in Scarborough since Friday, getting feedback on the draft bills. The sessions were expected to end on Monday.
Asked to explain the small number of registrants on Monday, Tobago West MP and JSC member Shamfa Cudjoe denied that Tobagonians were uninterested in the bills being discussed.
She said, “I think that Tobagonians are very interested in the exercise. However, many feel like their concerns have already been mentioned by other contributors.”
In an update on the completed sessions, Cudjoe said she was satisfied with the discourse so far.
“I was pleased to see Tobagonians from all sides of the political divide participate in this important process. We are trying to deliver legislation which is people-centred, so it is critical that Tobagonians seize the opportunity to influence the process. I was heartened by the turnout, especially by the fact that many Tobagonians shared similar concerns.”
After the sessions, she said the next step is to “examine the feedback and continue to build on the legislation.”