The new Cabinet, led by this country's first female Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar will be sworn into office today. The swearing-in ceremony will take place at the Knowsley Building, Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain at 4 pm. The Knowsley Building which was recently refurbished by the Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott) houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The issue of corruption in Udecott, under its former executive chairman Calder Hart, was on the front-burner during the election campaign. The move to the Knowsley Building has broken tradition since the swearing-in ceremony of the Prime Minister has been held at President's House. However, over a week ago a large section of the top floor of the west wing of the building collapsed.
President's House is used to host special functions such as the Independence Day Awards. The People's Partnership (PP), led by 58-year old Persad-Bissessar, won by a landslide, copping 29 of the 41 seats. She has been the Member of Parliament for Siparia since 1995. The PP comprises the United National Congress (UNC), the Congress of the People (COP), the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ), the National Joint Action Committee and the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP). The swearing-in was made official after president Max Richards received the final list of results from the Elections and Boundaries Commission. Earlier, however, attorneys representing the UNC and the PP sent a letter to the EBC's chairman Dr Norbert Masson calling for the declaration of the results to prevent "our client to be deprived of having its constitutionally elected representative sworn into office."
The letter which was sent by Om Lalla stated: "We are instructed that our client's political leader and Prime Minister designate, the honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar, is due to be sworn in today (Tuesday) as Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago upon confirmation of the election results by the Elections and Boundaries Commission in accordance with Section 104 of the Representation of the People Act Chapter 2:01." Masson could not be reached for comment. According to the law: "The Returning Officer shall, as soon as he shall have ascertained the result of the poll, forthwith publicly declare the same and announce the candidate for whom the most votes have been given to be elected as the member for the electoral district."
Also Section 76 (1) of the Constitution states it is the duty of the EBC, upon determining the the poll results of each constituency and upon confirmation of a majority, to inform the President forthwith which shall enable the President to appoint the Prime Minister. Although chief elections officer Howard Cayenne in a telephone interview said the preliminary results would be released today, they were released yesterday evening. He also said because there were requests for recounts in three constituencies the official results will be made available "maybe next week." The three requests were made for Arima, Point Fortin and Diego Martin North East.