Last update: 07-Dec-2013 3:12 am
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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PNM’s Mariano, Deyalsingh tipped for St Joseph seat
The People’s National Movement (PNM) will start screening after Monday for the imminent St Joseph by-election, for which names including former PNM minister Mariano Browne and opposition senator Terrence Deyalsingh have emerged. Outgoing St Joseph MP Herbert Volney’s announcement on Wednesday that he would not file any legal action to try to keep the seat has mobilised PNMites, who anticipate a “favourable fight” in St Joseph and that votes could be split between the People’s Partnership and Jack Warner’s Independent Liberal Party (ILP). House Speaker Wade Mark on September 9 had declared Volney’s seat vacant on the basis of his resignation from the UNC, on whose ticket he won the seat - and declared that Volney must to cease his functions as MP immediately. Mark said Volney had 14 days in which to institute any legal proceedings challenging this. The period ends on Monday.
Following Volney’s decision not to institute legal proceedings, the Speaker will formally declare the seat vacant at the end of the 14 day period, Parliament officials said yesterday. They added this might be at the next sitting of the House of Representatives. On Wednesday, the House adjourned to a date to be fixed. It is expected to resume either next week Friday or the following week, government sources said. Once declared vacant, a by-election date for the St Joseph seat will be announced by Government. This can be up to 90 days after the seat is declared vacant. The expected by-election, is projected by mid-December latest. It will be T&T’s fifth in the last 27 years and the second for this year. The Chaguanas West by-election was held July 29. It will also be the fourth election exercise for T&T after the Tobago House of Assembly elections in January, the July Chaguanas West by election and upcoming local government polls on October 21 for which parties are already engaged in planning.
Yesterday, PNM St Joseph chairman Gregorio Gonzales could not say when screening will occur, but expected it would be very soon.. PNM chairman Franklin Khan said the PNM will not move to screening processes until after Monday, in case Volney “had a change of heart.” Asked about names for St Joseph, Khan said while people could express views, PNM had a process and this would take place involving its screening team and central executive processes. “Right now we’re focusing on the September 29 launch of our local government campaign at Woodford Square (Port-of-Spain). We complete screening next week of local government nominees for the last two seats which were added in the recently released Election and Boundaries Commission draft order and we’re ready,” Khan added. PNM public relations officer Faris Al-Rawi said on radio yesterday the PNM had a screening process. When asked about Deyalsingh, he added Deyalsingh is an excellent choice for candidate.
Browne, a banker, who held finance and trade portfolios in the last Government, said yesterday, “The party has mechanisms for these exercises and they work.” PNM St Joseph co-ordinator Robert Le Hunte is overseas, but leading members of the PNM’s 15-plus PNM party groups in the seat say while three or four names have emerged already, Browne could become a front-runner. They said his profile fits the bill for St Joseph’s demographics where there is a mixed cross section of grassroots and intellectuals. They noted PNM’s highest votes in the seat had been 8,000 won by former PNMite Sharon Gopaul-McNichol who they said fit that profile. They also pointed to the need to increase the depth of economic/ financial talent on PNM’s Lower House team and strengthen the team generally. The UNC, which took the St Joseph seat in 1986 from PNM control, lost it in 1991 then held it again from 1995 to 2007 when the PNM retook it before the UNC wrested the seat from the PNM in 2010 general elections. The UNC meets by weekend to start planning by the by election, that party confirmed.
St Joseph’s Voting record
1956 – Kamaluddin Mohammed (PNM).
1961 – Matthew Ramcharan (PNM).
1966 – Frank Stephen (PNM),
1971 – Frank Stephen (PNM).
1976 – Shamshuddin Mohammed (PNM).
1981 – Shamshuddin Mohammed (PNM).
1986 – Carson Charles (NAR).
1991 – Augustus Ramrekersingh (PNM).
1995 – Mervyn Assam (UNC).
2000 – Carlos John (UNC).
2001 – Carlos John (UNC).
2002 – Gerald Yetming (UNC).
2007 – Kennedy Swaratsingh (PNM).
2010 – Herbert Volney (UNC).
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