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Miggins: A federal system is better than internal self-government

By Cheva Alexander

The Constitutional Amendment Bill brought to Parliament in the middle of the election is not sitting well with Attorney-at-Law, Deborah Moore-Miggins. Passionately expressing her views on the matter during an exclusive interview with Tobago News, Moore – Miggins in her capacity as Attorney at Law expressed her disapproval to both the timing and content of the Bill. “This bill is the most retrograde, unfair, unconstitutional measure ever being brought to the Parliament. People of Tobago need to analyse the Bill in its deceptive nature,” the prominent Attorney noted.

She went on to say that the Bill “was done without proper consultation with most Tobagonians.” The former minority leader pointed out that even after the Hamid Ghanny committee completed its report, based on consultations on the Green Paper, no report was provided for further review by Tobagonians as promised.

Moore – Miggins identified three points that are of particular interest to Tobagonians when considering the Constitutional Amendment Bill. Firstly, she believes the time for internal self government has gone. Tobago, she stressed, would commit the biggest error should they accept what is provided on the Bill. She believes a recommendation for a federal structure with Trinidad may be more accommodating at this time.

Secondly, she is concerned that it defines Tobago with an eleven-mile limit but is silent on a definition of Trinidad. This, she argued, means Tobago would only have jurisdiction and economic viability over the eleven miles.

The third point she raised was the timing of the Bill is ‘outrageous and meant to deceive’. She went on to say that although not the best, the current THA Bill is better than the Bill being proposed now. The trickery, she said, lies in the Tobago List, Concurrent List and the National List.

Moore-Miggins expressed disgust that the Concurrent list which has the items under which Tobago can make laws, is null and void since the overriding clause states that Tobago can make laws on these items providing that they are not governed by existing laws. She noted that almost every item is covered by law in Trinidad and Tobago and therefore liberty to make laws technically doesn’t exist. “Parliament can enact laws on anything and there is an existing law for everything.” Miggins noted.

Further to this, it was observed that certain responsibilities that currently lie with the THA under the fifth schedule and others as laid out in the Tobago list were removed and placed on the concurrent list. She made specific reference to Customs and Excise, State enterprises; CSO, Airports and Wharves, Air and Sea Transport are all now part of the Concurrent List. She believes the laws that already govern these areas will supersede the concurrent list and by and large Tobago’s opportunity to make laws is in fact null and void especially in the areas that matter.

It should be noted also that the proposed Bill is not a final representation of Tobago’s interest since there has been so many changes since after the first consultation.

See believes the opposition and all independents should not vote for the Bill and the drafter of the THA Bill Russell Martineau should be called upon to identify exactly what the Bill is giving as well as not giving. She is also of the view that Independent senators must consult with Tobagonians in a meaningful way, adding that their decision to vote for or against the Bill should be an informed one.

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RJ said on Tuesday, Jan 22 at 7:13 PM

XENOPHOBIA And Racism seem to have taken over the elections. The true issues to move Tobago forward has not been highlighted. We do need to grow up.

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Anonymous said on Tuesday, Jan 22 at 9:54 AM

Tobago used to be a wonderful place, it still is, but the few who has decided to sink Tobago, needs to stop. We have taken prayers out of the school, we have taken corpral punishment out of the schools, kids have no respect for the older folks, themselves and most importantly God. As old school said we need to look in the mirror. The THA needs to have persons who care 100% about Tobago and not just about themselves and their and thir friends pockets, let us get up and get as a people, we have spoken, let us work together, stop the racism, and the bickering and finger pointing. This is a beautiful island, let us help put and keep it on the map.Its Trinidad and Tobago. All the bickering and name calling before the elections, those TOP persons have to go with their tails wagging, that does not have to be the case, get together with PNM, and work for the betterment of the country. Its not the rich get richer and the poor stay poor, we all should share in the beautyand wealth .

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old school said on Tuesday, Jan 22 at 9:44 AM

Well it is over and the people of Tobago has spoken. God can see what we all cannot see. You all think things will get better, no they will not. We as a people of TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, need to come together and try to live in peace, and stop all this bickering. The youths need to get off their behinds, stop the drugs, killing, raping and laziness and try to help yourselves. If we all take a look in the mirror and start with that person, in stead of pointing fingers. It takes two hands to clap not 1 finger. Get up and get people and stop blaming others but strive to do better.

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peoplesay said on Tuesday, Jan 22 at 12:28 AM

Mrs.Miggins you have done a very good job, jealousy is a very dangerous thing, To the young girls and boys who want to further themselves, because Mrs. Miggins children is not living on this Island I now advocate to you once you have the pontential for education get out of Tobago. Some of you and even your parents at home voted for the out-come of today. But say what I now see the Laventille mentally taking over Tobago. Thanks to the following persons/party.MDD,TPT Vanus James,Mr.DeVignes,And Hochoy Charles who told his people if you don't vote for me vote PNM. Jack House is a torn in the people of Tobago who don't want to sweat to achieve. To the EXPRESS,Guardian both print media, you have now forced the youth into the abyss of a life that can only be found on the block. A nation is built by those who want to work, not by laziness.Mr.london URP,and CECEP is what you want for Tobago,along with the crew. The people have spoken, I have grand-children and Tobago is no place for progess.

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RJ said on Sunday, Jan 20 at 8:58 AM

NO POLL CAN WIN AN ELECTION. IT IS THE PEOPLE WHO VOTE. The election is not won until after Monday evening, when the people speak, and vote in TOP as the THA winner!!

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bacolet said on Sunday, Jan 20 at 6:52 AM

the campaign is finished and the dust has settled. after listening intently for the last couple of weeks, ive decided....pnm it is.

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RJ said on Saturday, Jan 19 at 4:52 PM

Lets vote TOP for a better Tobago!!

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PEOPLESAY said on Saturday, Jan 19 at 3:55 PM

LONG ISLAND IS A PART OF THE FIVE BOROUGH OF NEW YORK A TAX IS LEVY ON EVERYTHING EXCEPT FOOD ON LONG ISLAND FEDERAL TAX IS PAID ALONG WITH LOCAL TAX.WHAT MRS.MIGGINS IS ADVOCATING, THAT TOBAGO PAY MORE TAXES FOR SERVICES HERE IN TOBAGO APART FROM THE FIFTEEN PERCENT VAT.THIS LADY IS LOOSING HER MARBELS.SHE IS JEALOUS OF JACK BECAUSE HE HAVE BROUGHT TOBAGO THIS FAR, I FOR ONE ON TURNING BACK I VOTING TOP. AWAY WITH THE MMD AS A PARTY THEY ARE A BUNCH OF EDUCATED BLOW HARDS, WHOM THE AVERAGE TOBAGOIAN DO NOT WANT ALONG WITH HOCHOY AND HIS TPT WHO IS A PART OF THE PNM MACHINERY, HE GETTING A FOOD FROM THEM NOW TO MASH UP THE TOP PARTY.THE TOP IS A NEW PARTY AND IN A FEW YEARS TIME THE EDUCATED YOUTHS WILL CARRY THE VISION FORWARD.PNM YOUTH CAN BE FOUND IN THE GRAVE YARDS IN TRINIDAD. GUNS AND GANG STYLE KILL THEM. THEY THE PNM WANT THE TOBAGO YOUTH TO HAVE A GANG STYLE MENTALLY HERE IN TOBAGO.THE YOUTHS IN TOBAGO WANT A PROPER WORK,A HOUSE, A CAR.LIKE THE EDUCATED CHILDREN IN TRINIDAD.

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the virginian said on Friday, Jan 18 at 3:58 PM

Citylimer@11:46,if five people are of similar word,thought and deed then four are superfluous and expendable.What permutation of the five are you fostering?Are you calling for PNM,Moore-Miggins and both Jameses to join forces under the banner of Hochoy Charles?I know you're certainly not but,instead,conveniently and selfishly want all to join forces under the PNM flagship.Right?Sad.In other words,they should behave Faustian-like where the PNM is the centerpiece.That would be fine and dandy but certainly won't serve Tobago well.Tobagonians,you have choices so why not exercise them,lest you lose 'em?

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School Boy said on Friday, Jan 18 at 2:36 PM

I may not have much experience in these matters but from the looks of it a federal arrangement seems to be the the most appropriate one. What I cannot understand is how could Tobagonians of voting age say the not voting in this election? It is like no issue is important enough to get them to support A, B or C. If nothing else EVERY Tobagonian of voting age should have a position on the self-determination issue, if not they might as well pack theirs bags and leave.

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citylimer said on Friday, Jan 18 at 11:46 AM

MY PEOPLE I MAKE A LAST CALL FOR THE PNM,HOCHOY,MOORE MIGGINS, DR.VANUS JAMES, DR. WINFORD JAMES AND ALL OTHER INFLUENTIAL TOBAGONIANS TO MOUNT A MASSIVE MEETING SATURDAY/SUNDAY IN SCARBOROUGH IN DEFENCE OF TOBAGO AND TO SHOW THE UNC THAT WE STAND TOGETHER FOR THE BETTER GOOD OF TOBAGO. DR. ROWLEY GRAPS THE INITIATIVE NOW PLEASE NOW TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. ALL WHO READ THIS BLOG URGE THE PNM PEOPLE TO RALLY ALL TOBAGO TROOPS AND SHOW THE WICKED UNC THAT WE ARE UNITED AND COULD NOT BE DIVIDED FOR PERSONAL GAIN AND THAT WE ARE NO JACK SPRAT WHO DOES NOT KNOW THAT A FISH WITH FEATHERS IS NEITHER FOWL NOR FISH. SO WE DO NOT WANT VANILLA CORN AND WE NOT TAKING UNC BAIT BECAUSE WE ARE NOT HUNGRY FISHES. ORVILLE THE TIME IS NOW RALLY THE TROOPS NOW.THE BATTLE IS ON. PEOPLE POWER OVERCOMES MONEY POWER.

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trini bagonian said on Friday, Jan 18 at 11:14 AM

I grew up on the small island i call home and i love it not leaving i agree with ME all the way .......

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Bago Boy said on Thursday, Jan 17 at 9:18 PM

Yes RJ....lots of goodies in the bill for Tobago.....laced with PP/UNC/TOP poison....

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RJ said on Thursday, Jan 17 at 7:39 PM

IT WILL SEEM THAT YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BILL!!! THERE ARE LOTS OF GOODIES IN THE BILL FOR TOBAGO!!

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Batchak said on Wednesday, Jan 16 at 4:46 PM

RJ...You tooo funny! If this bill get passed to Tobago will go back to Slavery to Trinidad.

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RJ said on Wednesday, Jan 16 at 6:43 AM

THE PRESENT BILL GIVES TOBAGO ENOUGH POWER TO FUNCTION WITHIN THE REMITS OF INTERNAL SELF-GOVERNMENT. FEDERAL STATE WILL LOOK MORE LIKE WHAT HAS BEEN POINTED OUT IN THE ARTICLE.

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Ras B said on Tuesday, Jan 15 at 5:52 AM

This is a very insightful way of looking at this Government structure, but it is also very important , because this can be a way for the bigger picture of Caribbean unity. In every country on the planet today people are getting their freedom by Nationalism, why should Tobago not claim what belong to them. The strength of Tobago is in the Sea, not just for Gas and Oil , but for Fishing, Communication, Shipping,and even future industries like Marine Mining, why would anybody give up those without a fight.

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Anonymous said on Monday, Jan 14 at 4:47 PM

Iam in Total agreement with me and flowers.

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flowers. said on Monday, Jan 14 at 1:48 AM

I have to agree with Me statement! Mrs. Moore-Miggins when she had the opportunity to shape the space that she's looking for ran of to Miami. Well ask her why she's back! They all want the power & Trinidad wants to hold the whip over Tobago. It's been that way!

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Me said on Sunday, Jan 13 at 9:34 PM

Two Tobagonians discovered Columbus on a beach in Tobago during the 1400s. Yet Columbus boldly told the world that he discovered Tobago. This was the genesis of European colonialism of Tobago followed by Trinidad's constitutional colonialisation of Tobago. Tobago now is in the midst of a crucial THA election, and because its colonial master, Trinidad wants to control the hydrocarbon resources around Tobago, every Crapaud in the hole suddenly have an interest in the current THA elections. All Tobagonians, like Ms. Miggins must talk about federalism, and stop this nonsense about internal self government for Tobago. Back to he bill; if Tobago is defined as 11 miles, What is Trinidad? Where and how is Trinidad defined? Let's talk equality or shut up. Those Columbuses who suddenly discover a place called Tobago because of oil and natural gas, I ask that you get off the 'Calcutta Ship'and get on the 'Equality Ship.'Talk about federalsm.

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the virginian said on Sunday, Jan 13 at 6:52 PM

Perhaps most who have lived here,in the US, could attest to the power and independence states enjoy in our federal relationship.Yet when circumstances,like natural disasters,overwhelm a particular State's resources,it's within its rights to call on the feds for assistance.For example,hurricane Sandy and its impact on the NY,NJ,CT,areas in excess of USD$90 billion.

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