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MSJ prepares for local govt elections
More than a year after it broke ranks with the People’s Partnership, the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) has started putting its election machinery in place to fight local government elections alone. Speaking at a press conference at the MSJ’s St Joseph Village, San Fernando, office yesterday, party leader David Abdulah said the MSJ has begun to solicit funds and screen potential candidates.
However, he said candidates would not be chosen on the basis of their political allegiance to the MSJ, but on their track record in struggling for social justice. “We haven’t announced the number of seats...We are in the process of getting persons to be nominated,” Abdulah said. “We have a careful strategy of contest which would see us contesting in those communities where we have been engaging in work with the people of those communities.”
He added that the MSJ was not going to “parachute people to contest elections just for the sake of contesting.” “There is going to be a process of engagement with persons in the communities who have been doing work over a period of time,” Abdulah said. He said the MSJ would select candidates from village councils, community councils, youth groups, trade unions, faith-based organisations, cultural groups, sporting organisations and social workers who have uplifted the quality of life of citizens.
Abdulah also agreed with Local Government Minister Dr Surujrattan Rambachan that the quality of local government delivery was suffering because the best people were often not selected because of partisan politics. He added that the MSJ’s draft manifesto for constitutional reform recommended that people who contest local elections should not be nominated by political parties, but by the community. He said the MSJ would present its position on local government reform by the middle of this month.
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