Last update: 12-Dec-2013 4:50 am
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Reconsider debate strategy
In a press release on Sunday, the Debates Commission formally asked Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to rethink her decision not to participate in the leadership debate that the organisation has planned as its final discussion before the upcoming local government elections. The Prime Minister chose COP leader Prakash Ramadhar to represent the coalition government.
Televised debates in T&T are new enough that there is no established tradition for them, but there is existing precedent and history in debates held before major foreign elections, so the electorate is well aware of the importance of such conversations. In their short history here, the Debates Commission has created a unique space that takes candidates and leaders out of the programmed cocoon of orchestrated rallies and brings them face to face to discuss relevant national questions in rational, considered discourse.
That this does not work out well for some participants is inevitable, but it’s a unique opportunity for voters to really hear the thinking of the parties and individuals they are being asked to vote for. But the commission must also acknowledge the political reality of T&T today: an electoral landscape increasingly fractured into smaller slices representing specific interests.
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