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Trinidad and Tobago Parliament Asks Itself For Pay Raise, Says Yes

Categories: Caribbean, Trinidad & Tobago, Governance, Politics

When two controversial bills are passed swiftly and unanimously by a country’s parliament, the alarm bells go off.

The passage, on June 13, 2014, of amendments to two parliamentary acts governing pension payments for legislators [1] and judges [2] in Trinidad and Tobago has been called unconstitutional [3] and a threat to the independence of the judiciary. Or perhaps, as Rhoda Bharath suggests [4], it’s a case of “Himself. . . passing Amendments to pay Himself and bypassing the enshrined Constitutional arrangements.”

In a post spiced with football analogies and references to the 2014 World Cup, Bharath recounts [4] the chain of events and the commentary surrounding the whole affair, adding:

 “I can’t say it’s illegal. . . . The [Salary Review Commission] has to clarify whether Pensions really fall under its purview. The Constitution’s language is too vague for me to say so convincingly. . . . What I can say is in light of the burden on our treasury and our numerous labour and employment issues this leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. . . and I’m giving you, Keith Rowley [Trinidad and Tobago’s leader of the Opposition], a devious cut eye on this one.”