Last update: 13-Dec-2013 3:20 am
Friday, December 13, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Cop, UNC to strive for agreement on Tunapuna
Deputy political leader of the UNC Dr Roodal Moonilal says negotiations for local government elections are continuing apace between the COP, NJAC and the UNC, but the ILP and the MSJ remain locked out of coalition talks. Speaking to reporters at the Oropouche East first annual sports day held at Kennedy Park, Picton yesterday, Moonilal said he expects the COP and the UNC to reach an agreement on the Tunapuna seat by tomorrow. He said all three coalition parties met at the Hyatt on Monday night for negotiations.
“The meeting proceeded very well. We have been able to come to an understanding on several areas and issues. The outstanding issue I believe relates to the Tunapuna seat. Moonilal said the COP placed a new proposal on the bargaining table and this is currently being discussed by the UNC’s executives.
He added: “We have not yet found consensus on it. The COP put a proposal on the table last night which we are now consulting with our party and our leadership. I believe that by Wednesday or Thursday, latest, we should arrive at a consensus on the Tunapuna matter.” Moonilal said consensus has been reached on the San Fernando seats. “We understand each other’s position. NJAC wants Point Fortin, Port of-Spain and San Juan and we don’t have much dispute there.
“By Wednesday we should agree on a joint platform in Tunapuna,” Moonilal revealed. He noted: “The ILP and the MSJ are not at the bargaining table and I don’t think they will be part of our negotiations. Asked what would be the next step if a compromise cannot be reached, Moonilal said: “If there isn’t any consensus on Tunapuna, the regrettable outcome would be all parties will put up candidates as they see fit.”
Asked to share details on the COP’s proposal, Moonilal declined saying because of the “sanctity of the negotiation process,” he did not want to divulge details. COP Political Leader and acting Prime Minister Prakash Ramadhar also confirmed yesterday that negotiations are ongoing. Ramadhar said there was a sticking point in negotiations but refused to elaborate as to what that point was. “I think it could be resolved once the rights and fairness are respected.”
“This is the age of coalition government and we have to get accustomed to being committed to a partnership but accept that there will be disagreements from time to time. Ramadhar also said the COP and the UNC were set to debate in the upcoming local government elections debate to be held by the T&T Debates Commission. He said he was looking forward to representing his party in the upcoming debates, scheduled for October 10 and 15.
Asked if the two parties would be putting forward different views as they debated against each other, Ramadhar said each party had its independent opinions. On the issue of the by-election for the St Joseph constituency, formerly held by former justice minister Herbert Volney, Ramadhar said while the People’s Partnership had several candidates in mind, no decisions had been made regarding the seat.
Ramadhar was visiting the Emperor Valley Zoo with his wife Jayanti and daughter Urvi, 7, in an attempt to highlight environment issues.
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