Law of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

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GUIDE TO THE CONSTITUTION OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO by

The Trinidad and Tobago Humanist Association PREFACE The Trinidad and (www.humanist.org.tt) principle of rational to meeting challenges Tobago Humanist Association is an organisation founded to promote the and ethical thought and action, and devoted on the basis of common humanity.

The nation of Trinidad and Tobago has for some time been in a state of political crisis, characterised by ethnic tensions and by an increasing lack of confidence, on the part of the population, in the institutions of State. Many people and groups see the prospect of a lessening of tensions, and the beginnings of a return to social harmony and economic progress, in Constitutional reform. In response to these pressures, the present government has appointed a commission to review the constitution, and the work of that commission is now open for public comment in a series of open meetings. Response to the official draft has been sporadic but largely negative. The best informed commentators have unanimously seen in it an increase in the power of the Executive, although excessive executive power without adequate checks and balances was said to be the major problem of the existing Constitution. Some human rights organisations have detected in it the beginning of sever erosion of fundamental rights. In addition, other groups, including one newly-formed national political party, have prepared their own drafts, and suggestions for reform of particular aspects have been bandied about for some years. All these proposals, however, are subject to the accusation of catering to the desires of particular groups. This is natural

and not to be condemned. Politics is, precisely, the process of conciliation of diverse interests. Such conciliation, however, can only be successful if it takes place within a universally, or near-universally,…...

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