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Education (Amdt.) (No. 2) Bill

Tuesday, May 02, 2000

[SEN. JAGMOHAN]

I have difficulty in accepting that. A time-frame should be given. The words “as soon as possible” in Trinidad for people holding public office—why can we not say: “not later than January or February of each year.” If you do not want to use the words “each year” use the words “calendar.” There is an interpretation that from April last year to this year is a calendar year, and there is a strong argument in the CPOs Department that a calendar year is January to December, but I am not debating that. Will the Minister give this some consideration?

On the same page, clause 9(2) says:

“A Board shall meet on fixed dates and in any event not less than once a month.”

A fixed date means there is an advanced intimation of the dates for meetings. Why can the board not call special meetings or emergency meetings? This means they can only call meetings on fixed dates. This is how I understand it, except it is explained to me otherwise.

Clause 10(2) says:

“A request for an extraordinary meeting shall include sufficient indication of the purpose of the meeting.”

I am saying that the word “sufficient” might not suffice. The word “specific” is the more appropriate word, that is, it is mandatory on the chairman or secretary of the board to say for what reason they are calling an extraordinary meeting and at that meeting they should only discuss the specific matter for which the meeting is called. If they do not do this, members of the board will not be prepared and would have difficulty in participating and arriving at decisions.

3.50 p.m.

Mr. President, I see a very vexed question coming out of clause 13(1). I will read, Sir, with your permission:

“The decision of the Board is by majority of votes of the members present and voting by a show of hands.”

I have difficulty accepting that. There might be certain sensitive issues, delicate matters and there are persons who would like to vote in a particular way but then they would be mindful of the other persons having knowledge of how they are voting. I am wondering whether the Minister cannot consider her own amendment that “voting shall be by secret ballot” in such situations.

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