Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 9th 2013 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, September 9, 2013
The meeting between the Congress
of the People (COP) and the United
National Congress (UNC) to discuss
local government representation has
been postponed to tonight.
Political leader of the Congress of
the People Prakash Ramadhar said
many people had expressed the view
that the postponement of the meeting
was a delaying tactic by the UNC but
he hoped it was not so.
Ramadhar was speaking yesterday
to reporters at a news conference held
at the COP s Operations Centre, Caroni
Savannah Road, Charlieville, Chagua-
nas. His comments come as the party
has been talking about the meeting for
According to COP chairman, Carolyn
Seepersad-Bachan, the UNC was pre-
pared to meet tonight after the pres-
entation of the 2013/2014 budget pres-
"Unfortunately, we received a text
message yesterday, an hour before we
were due to start (at 1.30 pm on Sat-
urday) the negotiations, that the UNC
was unable to attend or come to the
negotiations and they asked for a fur-
ther postponement, tomorrow night
after the budget," she said.
She said the party had an issue with
"We are not going to allow that (the
postponement) to deter us," Seeper-
"The longer we postpone and we
delay---we have already said we are
going after seven corporations, we
are preparing, we have already made
decisions, the longer we take (to meet)
we would make more decisions," she
Justifying the reason for making the
decision to go ahead without the UNC,
she said that in the 2010 negotiations
to select members of Parliament, some
COP members had said "those nego-
tiations were too protracted, they were
delayed and we did not have oppor-
tunity to really seek the best interest
of the Congress of the People."
She said Saturday s meeting was
postponed because of Friday s late sit-
ting of the Parliament.
After several postponements...
COP, UNC meet tonight
on local govt elections
A o o o
Co o o (A ) B 2 1 , o o y
PHOTO: ROBERTO CODALLO
Seepersad-Bachan listed the areas which the COP would be interested in
contesting the local government elections.
She said: "In the case of Diego Martin, we are moving forward not for just
the councillor positions, with all the alderman positions in Diego Martin.
Arima similarly, it will be all councillor positions and all alderman positions.
"In San Fernando, however, we will be moving forward to fight all the seats
in San Fernando. We intend to announce a possibility of discussion with the
UNC about the alderman list. The Port-of-Spain City Corporation we are
fighting it as COP only but we are prepared to negotiate with the UNC come
"Tunapuna/Piarco Corporation, the COP has taken a decision, we are
moving forward as COP only in the Tunapuna Regional Corporation. However,
we are prepared to nominate aldermen from the UNC. The other two
corporations---Princes Town and San Fernando---we are prepared to negotiate
with the UNC."
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The Elections and Bound-
aries order which provoked
heated debate in Parliament
last Friday, changes internal
boundaries in Port-of-Spain,
Chaguanas, Arima, Mayaro
and Point Fortin, and increases
seats in the UNC-controlled
Princes Town corporations.
This was confirmed by both
PNM MP Colm Imbert and
Works Minister Suruj Ram-
The draft order which was
laid in Parliament last Friday
increases the number of local
government seats from 134 to
136. It involves boundary
changes for the several districts
and seat additions of one each
in Couva and Princes Town cor-
Presentation of the EBC order
caused the Government to come
under stiff fire from the Oppo-
sition PNM and ILP leader Jack
Warner. They took the Govern-
ment to task for bringing the
document for debate "late...like
a thief in the night."
Both sides had been focused
on debating the proportional
representation bill that day.
Imbert said the EBC changed
internal boundaries in almost
half the corporations and left
the other half untouched.
He said internal boundaries
were changed for six out of the
eight seats in Chaguanas, in two
Port of-Spain seats, five Arima
seats, three Point Fortin seats
and two Mayaro seats.
He said the Couva corpora-
tion which had 13 seats now has
14 and the Princes Town cor-
poration which had nine before,
now has ten.
"This order may very well
change the outcome of the local
government poll since a change
of boundaries can affect the
which is being retained for elec-
tion of councillors," Imbert said.
"Changes in Chaguanas, for
instance, may be significant
since there s PNM support in
Enterprise, so this could
strengthen or weaken PNM
seats---we have to see.
"The other problem with the
laying of this report at this time
is that Government had it since
2011 and it might change the
demographic of an area.
"But we ve only now been
told about it after parties
screened and selected candi-
dates and started campaigning."
Asked how the changes
affected the PP, Rambachan said
yesterday: "It doesn t really. We
hold control of 11 corporations
and we ll campaign based on
our performance. It s an open
"There s one more seat added
to Couva/Talparo /Tabaquite
corporation area and one more
added to the Princes Town cor-
poration. Both areas are con-
trolled by the UNC, so we ll do
the work we have to."
Rambachan spoke yesterday
after opening bridges in Sangre
Grande. He said a record 62
bridges were built in one year
and work would soon start on
the Valencia bypass and Trincity
and Claxton Bay bridges.
PNM whip Marlene McDon-
ald said she couldn t respond
immediately on how the order
would affect PNM.
She said: "We re more con-
cerned about the fact that the
EBC handed the order to Gov-
ernment since June 2011 and
they kept it under wraps since
then, so it seems there s an ulte-
rior motive on their part." (See
EBC order puts extra seats
in Couva, Princes Town
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