Constitutional Affairs and Parliamentary Studies Unit
The Constitutional Affairs and Parliamentary Studies Unit (CAPSU) of the Department of
Political Science was formally launched in January 2007. The Unit is comprised of Dr.
Hamid Ghany, former Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences and Dr. Maukesh Basdeo, Lecturer,
Department of Political Science. The Unit seeks to provide the following services to the
University and the national and regional communities:
- Research output on matters of constitutional and parliamentary significance.
- Informed responses to constitutional and parliamentary controversies.
- Publication of monographs, articles and books on constitutional and parliamentary affairs.
- Development of courses and programmes to promote the research and teaching agenda of constitutional and parliamentary affairs.
- The hosting of seminars, workshops and conferences in pursuit of the research agenda of constitutional and parliamentary affairs.
- The development of a think tank on constitutional and parliamentary affairs.
Commonwealth Caribbean Parliamentary Workshop:
CAPSU hosted its First Commonwealth Caribbean Parliamentary Workshop on January
10 to 11, 2007. The topics, which were addressed at the workshop include:
- Parliamentary Practice and Procedure: Presiding Officers.
- Parliamentary Practice and Procedure : Clerks-at-the-Table.
- Parliament in the Age of Information and Communication Technology.
- Parliament and the Scrutiny of the Executive.
- Gender and Parliamentary Representation.
This event was attended by participants from Dominica, Jamaica, Ghana, Canada, United
Kingdom, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
In May 2007, CAPSU embarked on an elections project to assist media organizations in their
preparation for coverage of the 2007 general elections in Trinidad and Tobago. The Unit
engaged in scholarly research on various aspects of constitutional and parliamentary affairs, and
conducted extensive research work on public perceptions of Parliament, which can provide a link
between general elections and the functioning of Parliament. The Unit offered the following
- Specialized research on historical data related to general elections of the past.
- Specialized research on significant events pertinent to general elections of the past.
- Specialized research on parliamentary information on Trinidad and Tobago and the Commonwealth Caribbean.
- Facilitating/hosting in-house staff seminars/discussion sessions on a regular basis prior to, during and immediately after the general election on issues likely to arise during the general election campaign.
- Providing troubleshooting and simulation exercises for in-house staff on situations likely to arise before, during and after the general election campaign.
- Conducting training programmes for junior reporters on the provisions of the Constitution, the Elections and Boundaries Commission Reports and the Representation of the People’s Act as they relate to the election process.
- Opinion polls.
- Election night coverage.
- Analysis by political consultant Dr. Hamid Ghany.
- Post-elections forum (held on January 9, 2008).
CAPSU was involved in overseeing the Public Consultation exercises on the 'Working Document on Constitutional Reform for Public Consultation' which was laid in the House of Representatives of Trinidad and Tobago on 9th January, 2009 by the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, the Honourable Patrick Manning, M. P.
CAPSU held a public seminar on the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2014 on Monday, 18th August, 2014 at 2.00 p.m. in the Management Lecture Theatre, UWI, St. Augustine. Panellists were Dr. Hamid Ghany, Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, UWI, St. Augustine; Mr. Nigel Henry, Lead Analyst, Solution by Simulation; Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Head, Department of Political Science, UWI, St. Augustine; Dr. Olabisi Kuboni, Chair, Constitution Reform Forum; Mr. Samraj Harripaul, Chair, Law Reform Commission.