Senate meets on March 28

File photo of the Senate President Nigel De Freitas - Photo by Sureash Cholai
File photo of the Senate President Nigel De Freitas - Photo by Sureash Cholai

THE Senate will meet on March 28 from 1.30 pm for its private members day.

Similar to the House of Representatives, these sittings are held at the end of each month and no government business is discussed at these sittings.

In the case of the Senate, the agenda on private members' day is dictated eithe by the opposition or independent senators.

On March 28, the Senate will continue its debate on a private motion filed by Opposition Senator Wade Mark about proclaiming sections of the Data Protection Act which have not been proclaimed into law as yet.

The Data Protection Bill 2011 was passed in the House of Representatives on February 11, 2011. It was passed by the Senate on May 24, 2011, with amendments.

The House passed the amended bill on June 3, 2011. It was assented into law (becoming an act) on June 22, 2011.

Various sections of the act were proclaimed into law on January 6, 2012 and August 23,2021.

At a virtual meeting between members of the Parliament's Finance and Legal Affairs Joint Select Committee (JSC) and officials from the Digital Transformation Ministry, the latter's executive legal adviser Rudyard Davidson told JSC members that efforts are being made to have the unproclaimed sections of the Data Protection Act proclaimed in fiscal 2024.

He added the hope was that this would be done simultaneously with the full operationalisation of the Electronic Transaction Act.

This act arose from the Electronic Transactions Bill 2011, with the objective to "give legal effect to electronic documents, electronic records, electronic signatures and electronic transactions."

The bill was passed by the House and Senate on February 11, 2011 and April 5, 2011 respectively. It was amended in the Senate and the House approved the amended bill on April 18, 2011.

It was assented by the President on April 28, 2011 and the act was partially proclaimated on January 6 and 18, 2012.

Next week's Senate sitting will be the first since its former president Christine Kangaloo was inaugurated as TT's seventh President at the Queens Park Savannah, Port of Spain on Monday.

She was elected by the Electoral College by a vote of 48-22 on January 20. The college comprises all members of the House and Senate, including the Speaker and the Senate President.

To date, there has been no indication of any changes being made to any of the Senate's benches, including the independent bench. The nine members of this bench are appointed exclusively by the President in accordance with Section 40 of the Constitution.

On Tuesday. attorney Martin George said these senators should resign and allow Kangaloo to select a new group of independent senators if she wished.

But it appears for the time being, the current nine independent senators will remain in place.

Three of them (Paul Richards, Anthony Vieira and Dr Maria Dillon-Remy) said there is no rule which makes it mandatory for independent senators when a new president assumes office.

All nine senators were appointed by Kangaloo's predecessor, Paula-Mae Weekes.


"Senate meets on March 28"

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