Interim political leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) Jack Warner says there is “absolutely no justifiable reason” to postpone local government elections. Warner made the statement yesterday in a media release, as he responded to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s announcement that discussions would be held on whether the elections should be postponed or not. The Chaguanas West MP said the elections must be held before the constitutional deadline of October 25, 2013.
“This is not a question that is up for debate and given the history of the positions taken by the Prime Minister and the United National Congress (UNC) on this same topic, the issue of postponement of the election should not even be under contemplation by the Prime Minister,” Warner said. The ILP leader admitted that it was “extremely disappointing” to learn that postponing the elections is even entertaining the mind of the Prime Minister.
“Given all that she has proposed to stand for, the question should have been shot down even before it was asked,” Warner said. He said it is the prerogative of the Prime Minister to select the election date, but urged Persad-Bissessar to name the date quickly so new council members could be elected and appointed.
Warner said the UNC and the Prime Minister were “constantly vociferous” in their protests against the former People’s National Movement (PNM) regime when then Prime Minister Patrick Manning postponed local government elections. He added that it was Persad-Bissessar’s campaign mantra and repeated commitment to call all elections when they are constitutionally due.
“It would be dishonest, hypocritical and dictatorial for the Prime Minister to repudiate merely because she is afraid of losing the third election in a row, to protect non-performing councillors who know that their constituents are waiting anxiously to vote them out, or to buy time,” he said.
Warner said the UNC and the Prime Minister argued “loudly—and correctly—that it was undemocratic to deny citizens their right to elect representatives and to be able to do so within the periods laid out in the Constitution which is the social contract between the People and the State.”