Penal/Debe Regional Corporation (PDRC) chairman Dr Allen Sammy, on Monday, stated the holding of the local government poll was “physically possible” and could be held later during the year once the appropriate processes were put into place and pointed out that the Local Government Bill was yet to be laid in Parliament.
“If the local government election is postponed for another time, this will deny the people the opportunity to express the type of representation that they need and that is the main issue,” he said.
“ The Bill is still not an Act and there are a number of things that have to be done in preparation for an election such as informing the EBC, (Elections and Boundaries Commission), about the change in boundaries so they can put their own mechanisms in place,” Allen continued.
“But the Prime Minister’s announcement last Saturday that the State may opt for a general election at the expense of a local government election demonstrates the continuing weakening of the traditional institutions of the State by a Prime Minister who is bent on shaping a personal agenda for greater personal power,” he said.
Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation MRCRC) chairman Ramlochan Panchoo said if the Government was “really serious” about the quality of representation at the local government level, the poll should be held on the same day as that of a general election.
“I feel they should call both on the same day because the country needs to have new local government representation,” he said, and noted, “this will save the country a great deal of money because a lot of money is spent on an election but if it is organised properly, the two elections can be held.”
He said the coding of ballot papers into different colours for the local government poll and increased diligence on the part of the presiding officers at the various polling stations could result in a workable solution.
“But most of the people that I have spoken to are of the opinion that the Prime Minister is bluffing and would postpone the holding of the Local Government elections because the feeling on the ground is that there is too much against the government at this present point of time,” he said, adding, “But, I support the call of my political leader so the Prime Minister should not back out now.”
Efforts to contact San Fernando Mayor, Kenneth Ferguson, Siparia Regional Corporation chairman, Vidya Deokiesingh, and Princes Town Regional Corporation chairman, Kemchan Ramdath were unsuccessful.