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

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 and judges in Trinidad and Tobago has been called unconstitutional and a threat to the independence of the judiciary. Or perhaps, as Rhoda Bharath suggests, 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 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.”

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