23rd Sitting of the Senate
5th Session - 11th Republican Parliament
Leave of absence was granted to Sen. the Hon. Franklin Khan, who is ill. Mr. Ndale Young was appointed temporary Senator in his place.
Temporary Senator Ndale Young took the oath of allegiance.
The President of the Senate reminded members and staff of measures taken during the Sittings to fight against COVID-19. She also indicated further measures that Parliament is taking in these circumstances.
The Administration of Justice (Electronic Monitoring) (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and the Miscellaneous Amendments Bill, 2020 were brought from the House of Representatives. The Acting Leader of Government Business moved that the next stage of these Bills be taken on Tuesday May 5, 2020. The motion was carried.
Nine papers were laid. See Order Paper for details.
Six reports were presented.
Four urgent questions were posed before the time for urgent questions expired.
Five questions qualified for oral answer. Question #72 was deferred for two weeks.
Sen. Wade Mark sought leave to move the adjournment of the House on two definite matters of urgent public importance, namely the probable loss of income and livelihoods for hundreds of our national agriculture workers due to their inability to take up employment abroad due to the existing COVID-19 border control restrictions and the clear and present danger posed to the livelihood of the people of T&T by the actions taken by the Government to supply 150,000 barrels of fuel to Venezuela in light of the US economic sanctions against the Maduro regime. The President of the Senate was not satisfied that these matters qualified under this Standing Order.
The Acting Leader of Government Business moved a motion that the JSC on the Cannabis Control Bill, 2019 be allowed an extension of two months in order for the Committee to complete its work and submit a final report by June 30, 2020. The motion was approved.
He moved a second motion that the JSC on the Miscellaneous Provisions (Local Government Reform) Bill, 2019 be allowed an extension of one month in order for the Committee to complete its work and submit a final report by May 31, 2020. The motion was approved.
He also moved a motion that the SSC on the Evidence (Amendment) Bill, 2019 be allowed an extension of two months in order for the Committee to complete its work and submit a final report by June 30, 2020. The motion was approved.
The Acting Leader of Government Business moved a motion that, during the period of the current global pandemic, Standing Order 42 (1) be suspended and the time limit for speeches in debates be reduced to 20 minutes, with no extensions, except for the mover of the Bill and the first responders of the Opposition and Independent benches to the debate, who will be granted 30 minutes. With 16 votes for, 7 votes against and no abstentions, the motion was carried.
Debate continued on The Trinidad and Tobago Revenue Authority Bill, 2019. Following the debate, the Bill was committed to a Committee of the Whole Senate for consideration clause by clause. Amendments were made. With 24 votes for, 6 votes against and no abstentions, the Bill was read a third time and passed.
Sen. Wade Mark raised a matter on the adjournment namely the lack of COVID-19 testing of our population by the Government. The Minister of Health responded.
Sen. Mark raised a second matter regarding the reopening of the economy within certain guidelines. The Minister of Finance responded.
The Sitting concluded at 3:16 p.m. The Senate adjourned to Tuesday May 5, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.