Last update: 09-Dec-2013 1:43 am
Monday, December 09, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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COP meets on local govt seats
The Congress of the People’s (COP) National Council scheduled a special session last night to decide how many local government seats, whether all or some, the party wished to contest within the coalition PP. The meeting was also to strategise for tomorrow’s Parliament debate on Government’s proportional representation legislation which would govern the local government polls.
COP acting general secretary Clive Weatherhead said the council called the meeting to examine the priority issues, particularly COP’s participation in the October 21 polls. He said COP had 70-plus local government nominees so far but no decision to date on where they would contest. He said the meeting would discuss the party’s preferences. It is seeking a larger number of seats to contest.
COP chairman Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan also said last night’s meeting would try to ascertain from members if it should enter the election as a party contesting all 134 places in the 14 regional corporations or some places and, if so, what number. For the last poll COP had contested a minority figure and only won places in two corporations. Whatever position adopted by the COP would be communicated to the PP in negotiations during the weekend over the polls.
COP hopes the allocation of seats would be settled by then, ahead of the 2014 budget presentation on Monday and the two-week debate the budget would require, it was stated. UNC deputy leader Suruj Rambachan said the PP negotiations, which would take place on the weekend, was a “fairly easy” exercise and should be completed before the budget presentation.
Asked if the COP would obtain the increased number of seats it was seeking, Rambachan said: “We will work out the situation to the mutual benefit of all PP members.” He said UNC‘s Local Government nominees were still incoming and the party would complete screening by the end of the next week.
Meanwhile, ILP’s Sunil Ramjitsingh was unable to confirm whether a relative of either Rambachan or Attorney General Anand Ramlogan had been screened by the ILP to contest the local government polls. Ramjitsingh said he had heard such speculation but could not confirm it. Rambachan said he was unaware that any relative of his was being screened by the ILP.
The ILP has been opening regional offices and screening nominees this week. On Tuesday, it chose eight candidates to contest Chaguanas Borough seats. Ramjitsingh said nominees were mostly young first-timers in politics. Screening continued in Curepe yesterday for nominees for eight seats in the Tunapuna/Piarco Corporation, with 55 people turning up for screening.
Today the ILP begins screenings for the Sangre Grande Corporation. Ramjitsingh said the party would extend its nominee deadline to cater for the flow of interested people. Opposition PNM candidates, finalised since July, have been campaigning since then.
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