The Court of Appeal in Port of Spain, Trinidad, took just two hours on Monday to reject an appeal by the opposition United National Congress (UNC) challenging the dismissal of its election petitions over the results of last year’s general election. Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Appellate Judges Allan Mendonca and Peter Jamadar dashed the UNC’s hopes of having a by-election in five marginal constituencies as they ruled that the polls had been conducted “in a free and fair manner consistent with the constitutional requirements for democracy,” the Trinidad Guardian reported. However, the appeal panel, comprised of the country’s most senior judges, ruled that the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) overstepped its remit when it decided to extend the polls by one hour in Trinidad due to heavy rainfall.
The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) has dismissed a claim by former prime minister Kamla Persad Bissessar that her coalition People’s Partnership had been denied victory in Monday’s general election as a result of the EBC’s decision to extend the time allotted for voting. The coalition said it was challenging the results based on the unilateral decision of the EBC to extend the voting period by one hour due to the inclement weather. “The rules which govern a general election are quite clear. Strict adherence to these rules is absolutely necessary to minimize and avoid irregularities. Failure to do so will result in allegations and perceptions of unfairness and favouritism.” Persad Bissessar said that the information and data received by the party “strongly suggested that the People’s Partnership was comfortably ahead in the polls at 6:00 pm. The march to victory adversely affected by the sudden unilateral decision by the EBC to extend hours of the poll from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm”.
Voters in Trinidad and Tobago chose not to give Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s coalition a new five-year term, opting to bring back the opposition under Keith Rowley. People in the oil-rich, twin island nation off South America’s northeastern shoulder voted yesterday in elections that had the prime minister battling both the opposition — and an upstart splinter party launched by disgraced football honcho Jack Warner. Persad-Bissessar’s main challenger was Rowley, a vulcanologist; his People’s National Movement (PNM) has governed the nation more than any other since independence from Britain in 1964. “These are not the times of milk and honey. There are difficult times ahead. We have a resilient people, particularly a large body of young people who are looking for a future from our country,” the prime minister-elect said to chants of “Rowley, Rowley” from hundreds of supporters.
The campaign for the Sept. 7, 2015 General Election in Trinidad and Tobago kicked off last week. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, 63, announced the date in a statement at the House of Representatives, Port of Spain that she would advise President Anthony Carmona “to dissolve parliament at midnight on June 17, 2015 — a move which will bring to an end the tenth parliament and clear the way for the eleventh.” She said her government was the first under the Republican Constitution to serve its full term.
Trinidad and Tobago: Independent Liberal Party chairman: Warner can run in the election | Trinidad Express
Chairman of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) Rekha Ramjit yesterday said the party’s political leader, Jack Warner, is eligible to run in the upcoming general election as a candidate. Ramjit said based on the criteria as laid out by the Constitution, Warner is “of good character, and has not been convicted of a criminal offence”. Ramjit told the Express in a telephone interview: “He is certainly eligible to run as a candidate. The constitution of Trinidad and Tobago which deals with the criteria for representatives is very, very clear.
The Tobago Council of the People’s National Movement (PNM) has received reports that a State security agency acquired and shipped 10,000 cellphones to Tobago in the past week, in a bid to steal Monday’s Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election. Council officials have therefore met with the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) to voice its concerns over the reports which it believes to be credible. Council PRO Dr Denise Tsoiafatt Angus said the EBC was advised of the report that the cellphones were intended for use in a plot to steal the THA election.
There are six women contesting the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election on January 21, the largest number ever, and it is hoped there will be a greater female presence in the THA in the coming years. The expectation is coming from Hazel Brown, head of the Network of NGOs of T&T for the Advancement of Women. Brown made the comment at Kariwak Village Hotel in Tobago on Thursday as she made financial presentations to each of the candidates. “We got some funding from the United Nations Women organisation in Barbados for women in leadership,” she said. Brown said along with the financial contributions, which are to assist the women in their campaigns, the Network of NGOs has also been training women in Tobago for leadership since December last year.