Last update: 11-Dec-2013 10:14 pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
You are here
UNC, COP fight it out on Tunapuna
The COP and UNC continued finalising local government seats last night, haggling over the Tunapuna/Piarco corporation, where the COP wants to contest the majority of seats and UNC wants a 50-50-split, government officials said. A total of 136 seats are up for contest in the 14 regional corporations in the October 21 local government polls. Nomination day is next Monday. The Opposition PNM concluded screening and has been campaigning since July. The PNM is completing screening for two more seats in the Couva and Princes Town areas, recently added in an EBC draft order. ILP chairman Robin Montano said yesterday the party has finished screening and has all 136 candidates. UNC deputy leader Suruj Rambachan said yesterday the COP and other parties were to meet again at 7.30 pm last night after several meetings last week and delays on some aspects of the negotiations.
Rambachan said there had been headway on some seats and others were yet to be organised. He declined to give details, also refusing to say why talks were taking so long to complete. The COP last Friday estimated it should be finished by last weekend. COP executive officials said the party by the end of the week had to return to its council members to get feedback, having to shift from its initial proposal. That was to contest all seats in half of the seven corporations. COP subsequently shifted to our corporations. COP officials said NJAC wanted to contest Point Fortin and another corporation and COP had accommodated that. They added the UNC was sticking to contesting the Tunapuna/Piarco corporation and individual seats in certain others. Just before last night’s meeting, PP officials said all sides have agreed the COP would contest seats in Diego Martin, San Fernando, Port-of-Spain and Arima.
They said NJAC would likely be contesting seats in Point Fortin and some in Port-of-Spain. He added the UNC would contest the remaining seats, including in the corporations of Couva, Princes Town, Siparia, Penal, etc. However, they said the COP also wanted to contest some seats in the Siparia Corporation and the majority of places in the 14-seat Tunapuna/Piarco Corporation. They said the UNC also wanted to share that corporation 50-50. Further, the COP had also rejected a call by the UNC for some UNC candidates in contesting in Tunapuna/Piarco to go up under the COP banner, they added. The COP was also in the process yesterday of screening local government candidates but hasn’t finalised its selections for aldermen.
The UNC has said its candidates were in hand. Both sides hoped to conclude the negotiations by last night, not only due to next Monday’s nomination day but also since Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was scheduled to leave for New York early this morning to attend the UN General Assembly. In her absence COP leader Prakash Ramadhar is acting as Prime Minister until Friday. In preparation for Monday’s nomination day process, the Election and Boundaries Commission yesterday began a preliminary exercise of examining nomination papers. Due to the new system being used in the polls — the recently passed form of proportional representation to elect aldermen—the EBC will publish the list of aldermen of all contesting parties both in the press and on the Internet, EBC has stated. (GA)
Speaker Wade Mark is expected to declare the St Joseph seat vacant on Friday when the House of Representatives meets, sources said yesterday. On September 9 Mark announced that UNC leader Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar had informed him St Joseph MP Herbert Volney had resigned as a UNC member. Mark said under the law Volney had to cease his functions as MP immediately. Mark said Volney had 14 days in which to file any legal action to contest the decision if he so desired. Although Volney initially said he would do so, he later said he would not file legal action.
The 14-day period ended yesterday. This cleared the way for the seat to be declared vacant and for a by-election to be held to elect an MP. A by-election can be held up to a maximum of 90 days after the declaration; in this case up to late December. Parliament officials said the Speaker would officially declare the seat vacant by a statement in the House the same way he did in the case of Chaguanas West. They said the declaration for St Joseph would likely be at the next sitting of the House of Representatives. House leader Roodal Moonilal subsequently confirmed the House will meet on Friday. The Lower House met last Wednesday to conclude the 2014 budget debate and the Senate is expected to conclude its budget debate by tomorrow, government officials said.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.