Former temporary Independent Senator and Youth Advocate Nikoli Edwards is expected to contest the 2020 general elections with a political party of his founding. This according to a source close to Edwards who spoke to Guardian Media under the condition of anonymity.
“Nikoli has always been passionate about social change, and he has gained a lot of credibility among civil society groups and youth, especially after he had an impressive stint in the Parliament,” the source stated.
Guardian Media reached out to Edwards for confirmation, but he said he was “not prepared to comment on this news just yet.”
Questioned about whether or not he was being encouraged to contest the 2020 elections, Edwards explained: “I have always been pushed by friends, family, young people and just members of the public who have heard me speak—to ‘hurry up and get in government’ to be able to put my solutions for national development to work.”
Edwards joked that only “time and sound advice” would determine what his future in politics would be.
Refusing to give further details, our source indicated that it appeared that Edwards was making moves toward launching a party, a date for which had not yet been confirmed, “I’m not sure when exactly, I don’t think the local government elections is on his radar but definitely 2020 seems to be the plan.”
Guardian Media was able to confirm that Edwards applied to the Elections and Boundaries Commission to have a symbol assigned to the “Progressive Party.”
In Gazette No 111 of 2017 dated October 23, 2017 notice had been given that a symbol was assigned to the Progressive Party.
Edwards was appointed as the youngest temporary senator by then President Anthony Carmona in 2017 and debated several pieces of legislation during that year.
In 2018, he was appointed as a member of the Procurement Board of Trinidad and Tobago and also received the National Youth Award for Youth Activism in the same year.
He has been no stranger to the public having worked in both private and state media, and he often comments publicly on various social and political issues.
The graduate of the University of the West Indies, St Augustine served as Public Relations Officer twice, Faculty of Humanities and Education Representative and Secretary of the Guild of Students over the course of three years and was elected as Vice Chairperson Policy, Advocacy and Projects of the Commonwealth Youth Council which serves 1.2 billion young people across the Commonwealth.
In 2016, he founded the Trinidad and Tobago Youth Convention and served as its Executive Chairperson.
Guardian Media understands that Edwards’ regular address is in the Oropouche East constituency, but he has been residing in the St Augustine constituency for the past four years while attending the University of the West Indies and therefore may consider either constituency to contest the 2020 elections.