The main opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) has described as “vulgar” the decision of the government to amend the Municipal Corporations Act to introduce the concept of proportional representation in Trinidad and Tobago.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar, announcing the October 21 date for the Local Government election, said that her administration plans to introduce the concept of proportional representation that has been advocated as a fairer and stronger system for several years.
“The idea was that parties should have a slate of Senators that is known beforehand to the public at a general election. Seats in the Senate would be allocated in accordance with the number of votes cast for a party…. It will represent a historic foray into the virgin territory of proportionate representation which many feel, is an idea whose time has come.”
But in a statement, Opposition and PNM leader Dr. Keith Rowley said that the move is a “vulgarity, a hastily cobbled together initiative offered not unlike what was attempted during the recent Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election when the Prime Minister brought a bad bill to Parliament purporting to give Tobago internal self-government”.
Rowley said after that the resounding defeat in the Tobago elections, the proposed legislation for internal self government “without further attention, was quietly allowed to lapse.
“On this occasion the Prime Minister floated the trial balloon of postponing the Local Government Election. Vigorous public rejection has resulted in the Government withdrawing from that option which it had placed on the table.
“They have now come up with this patently self-serving attempt aimed at improving their party’s chances of winning places through proportional representation.”