In a rare appearance in the Senate on Wednesday, Manning said the Government would not be able to hold the elections before the completion of the Election and Boundaries Commission boundaries review exercise.
“Nobody is going to hold a Local Government election when CHOGM is on. We certainly would not do that,” Manning said after Independent Senator Bhasrat Ali had raised the issue. He said the Government was not going to subject foreigners to such a situation, like holding local government polls.” We are not going to do that. Therefore, it is unlikely that you would want to hold a Local Government Election before November,” he added.
“At any rate, it is unlikely that the boundaries exercise would be approved by this House after being the subject of adjudication by the Elections and Boundaries Commission before that time, September, October, November, somewhere around there. You would then have to wait until after the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting before election is called,” Manning said.
Manning’s wife, Local Government Minister Hazel Manning, earlier, said the process of reform of Local Government was the main reason for the postponement of the elections. Yesterday, Ransford Smith, the Commonwealth Deputy Secretary General, said plans for the upcoming Summit are “on track”.
“Preparations are on track, all of the ingredients are in place for an excellent CHOGM and all we have to do is stay the course,” Smith said at a press briefing on the sixth floor of the International Financial Centre, Port-of-Spain.
Coordinator of the CHOGM Secretariat, Ambassador Luis Alberto Rodriguez, yesterday said the national secretariat was monitoring the situation in relation to swine flu.
“I wish to assure the country here that this is something that forms part of our engagement,” Rodriguez said. “Internally, we continue to be very conscious of the nature of this particular disease...We shall as we go forward work with the coordination of the Ministry of Health to address that.” Rodriguez said representatives of member states are due to visit Trinidad and Tobago on July 27 and July 28. Smith said senior Commonwealth officials will also visit in October in the lead up to the meeting carded for November 27 to November 29.