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General election by Sept 2015—PM

Published: 
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Parliament will dissolve in June 2015 and general election will be held, at latest, by September 2015, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said yesterday.

Saying Government will hold general polls when constitutionally due, she added that Parliament will prorogue by next June and general polls cannot be held after September 2015.

“Take note you know, so those of you who’re calling for it now, think twice,” she said.

Saying people had said the People’s Partnership (PP) would not last the term, the PM declared to PP desk-thumping support:

“I will run the term of this Government as long as it’s within the law, so when Parliament dissolves in June 2015, according to law, elections can be held any time thereafter not later than September 2015.”

She noted that the People’s National Movement (PNM) had postponed Local Government polls four times.

Pointing out that her Government had brought the current bill on the Constitutional Reform Commission’s recommendation, Persad-Bissessar said it was decided to bring those items that required a simple majority vote first and others later on.

She said the current proposals were not the end of such reform legislation and others which require a special majority vote — including referendums, proportional representation and strengthening the powers of the Director of Public Prosecution — would be brought in future. 

Persad-Bissessar said the Constitutional Reform Commission held 21 meetings nationwide, suggestions had come from the people and she was satisfied the CRC had discharged its duties faithfully. She noted the PP’s manifesto had stated its constitutional reform proposals. 

The PM said the public was now being distracted with talk of runoff polls but the basis of the runoff was the right of voters to recall an MP via majority of votes process. 

She noted the use of a simple majority for passage of the bill was confirmed by former Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) president Michael de la Bastide, Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) chairman Dr Norbert Masson and senior counsel Martin Daly.

“Nowhere in this bill is any express or implied amendments that require a special majority. (So) I can see nothing wrong with giving people the right to the power to say to an MP, ‘If you are not performing, I am coming to take you out.’” (GA)