After Monday’s Local Government Elections, the Opposition UNC will now have an alderman in the Diego Martin Regional Corporation for the first time since 2010, but the UNC is blanking today’s swearing-in of councillors in several corporations.
Both sets of developments were confirmed yesterday.
The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) yesterday finalised allocation of aldermen and wrote the PNM and UNC parties notifying them of how many aldermen each was assigned.
Also, Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein said councillor-designates from largely PNM-controlled corporations will be sworn in today in Port-of-Spain, San Fernando, Point Fortin, San Juan/Laventille and Tunapuna/Piarco.
He said swearings-in would be done for who was available. He said he’d learned the UNC wouldn’t be swearing in its councillors today. The UNC confirmed yesterday that its candidates won’t be sworn in until next week when mayors would also be sworn in. The UNC notified the Ministry of the situation yesterday.
As a result, a scheduled swearing-in at the Mayaro/Rio Claro corporation today may only be attended by lone PNM councillor-designate, Wendell Perez.
Both the UNC and PNM tied in Monday’s Local Government election results, each winning seven of the 14 corporations. The PNM won 74 of the 139 corporation seats and UNC, 65. The UNC won the popular vote with 202,584 votes and the PNM got 161,962.
The EBC has to announce aldermen up to four days after a poll. Parties have until December 11 to inform the EBC of the names of their aldermen.
EBC officials said yesterday the number of aldermen is based on a formula in the Municipal Corporations Act (Section 13). The proportional representation formula involves the total number of votes a party obtains in an entire corporation region- and not the number of seats it wins. To obtain an alderman, a party has to win at least a quarter of the votes cast in a region.
UNC general secretary Dave Tancoo yesterday confirmed that the EBC notified the UNC of the number of aldermen assigned.
Checks by Guardian Media confirmed the UNC was assigned a total of 27 aldermen spread over 12 of the 14 corporations. This includes one alderman in Diego Martin Corporation for the first time since 2010 when the UNC/PP had such participation in that corporation. It was controlled by PNM in the recent term and will be again in the new term.
Also, the Opposition now has more aldermen in San Fernando corporation, won by PNM. The UNC had one before and now has two. The UNC also has two aldermen in Sangre Grande and Siparia corporations.
It was assigned three each in Chaguanas, Couva, Mayaro and Princes Town corporations. The UNC will continue to have one alderman each in Arima and San Juan-Laventille.
Its highest number of aldermen is in Penal/Debe. The party has none in PoS and Point Fortin.
PNM general secretary Foster Cummings said the party was informed by the EBC of how many aldermen it was assigned. He projected the PNM would have majority aldermen in corporations the party won strongly. Cummings said mayors will be chosen next week.
Guardian Media’s checks confirmed the PNM received from a maximum of four aldermen (in Point Fortin and PoS), two in some places including San Fernando, to a minimum of one (Central).
Meanwhile yesterday Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar was at St Clair Medical Centre from 8.15 am, accompanying her husband Dr Gregory Bissessar who was warded for chest pains. He was reported by yesterday afternoon to be resting comfortably. Dr Bissessar had been at his wife’s side throughout recent Local Government campaigning.