AG to wind up Wealth Bill today

Monday, April 8, 2019 - 04:45

At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Faris Al- Rawi is wind­ing up de­bate on the con­tro­ver­sial Ex­plain Your Wealth Bill in Par­lia­ment to­mor­row, with the Op­po­si­tion look­ing to the fi­nal Com­mit­tee stage to have their say since their last planned speak­er didn’t get to speak last Fri­day.

UNC MP Dr Fuad Khan said he’d been sched­uled to speak in last Fri­day’s de­bate of the bill, but the AG was called up­on to wind up the bill and Khan didn’t get an op­por­tu­ni­ty. The bill (Civ­il As­set Re­cov­ery and Man­age­ment and Un­ex­plained Wealth Bill) elicit­ed strong de­bate when Al- Rawi pre­sent­ed it last Fri­day. It re­quires on­ly Gov­ern­ment votes for pas­sage.

Af­ter UNC whip David Lee con­clud­ed his con­tri­bu­tion to the de­bate, Khan said he was the Op­po­si­tion’s next sched­uled speak­er but as he rose, the House Speak­er called on the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al to wind up.

Khan, a for­mer Deputy Speak­er, said he’d learned prece­dent was that one had to look on both sides— to see if any­one else had to speak— be­fore seek­ing wind up of a de­bate.

“Pre­vi­ous Speak­ers taught me, the Op­po­si­tion must have its say since the Gov­ern­ment will have its way,” But the Speak­er’s de­ci­sion is al­ways fi­nal and we abide by that. We’ll like­ly have to use the Com­mit­tee stage to get our points in. But it may pro­long that stage. Al­so one has to stick to the claus­es in­volved and the Gov­ern­ment which has the num­bers is un­der no oblig­a­tion to ac­cept our points there,”

Gov­ern­ment’s House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives leader Camille Robin­son- Reg­is told the T&T Guardian yes­ter­day, “We don’t de­ter­mine who the Speak­er calls nor do we give her a list of our speak­ers, nor is it a one/one, Gov­ern­ment/Op­po­si­tion pro­ce­dure. The sys­tem’s a free-flow­ing one. It’s based on who­ev­er catch­es the Speak­er’s eye, speaks in the de­bate,”

“If she called on the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al, ob­vi­ous­ly the AG caught her eye and if her eye wasn’t caught by the Op­po­si­tion, they may have hes­i­tat­ed. But they have full op­por­tu­ni­ty to deal with the bill in the Com­mit­tee stage.”

- by Gail Alexander