Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 12th 2013 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, September 12, 2013
Although Government appeared happy and
relieved at the passage of the proportional repre-
sentation legislation, the Opposition PNM says its
arguments against the bill were validated by the
expressions of concern by Independent senators.
PNM Senate leader Pennelope Beckles, speaking
yesterday after the Senate passed the bill, said she
had said "no" in the final count, though the Gov-
ernment had the numbers to pass the simple majority
She maintained the PNM s view that the bill had
been passed with "flim-flam" by Government, par-
ticularly on issues which the Independents brought
up in the last stage.
PNM Senator Faris Al-Rawi said although a divi-
sion---a count of who was for or against the bill---
as not done, he had sought one and asked Independent
Senator Elton Prescott to ask for it.
Prescott told the T&T Guardian after the bill was
passed he was not disappointed on the outcome,
since the error had been his in failing to call for a
division when it was necessary.
Prescott said he had intended to make his position
against the bill known in a division.
Still, he said, the bill would work, though a lot of
public education would be necessary.
He said the intent was still unclear but if the Elec-
tions and Boundaries Commission "gets a handle on
it, it should not pose a problem."
Works Minister Suruj Rambachan, who closed the
debate, said he had seen brilliant contributions from
the Independent bench, which, he said, had distin-
guished itself by providing what was required in such
The Parliament will have to deal with the
refusal of St Joseph MP Herbert Volney to vacate
the constituency office, said Prime Minister
"Those are matters for the Parliament to deal
with and I leave it in their hands," Persad-Bissessar
told reporters yesterday as the UNC began screen-
ing candidates at Rienzi Complex, Couva, for all
Asked about the request by Port-of-Spain busi-
nesses to work closely with the Government to
fight crime, Persad-Bissessar welcomed their help.
She added: "That s an excellent development.
You will recall when I did the Cabinet realignment
I called on all of us to hold hands together in the
war against the criminals.
"We are very heartened by the response from
the business community and certainly will take
all or any suggestions which may come forward
Despite the Congress of the People
(COP) desire to contest all the local
government seats in seven corpora-
tions, the United National Congress
(UNC) yesterday began screening can-
didates for all 14 corporations.
Speaking at the UNC headquarters
at Rienzi Complex, Couva, yesterday,
Prime Minister and UNC political leader
Kamla Persad-Bissessar said the Peoples
Partnership must identify 272 candi-
"In combination with our partners
we will identify seats that will be given
or contested by our partners and the
ones to be contested by the UNC.
"However, those negotiations are
continuing and our team met with the
COP team on Monday evening and they
are expected to meet again.
"But in the interim we are continuing
our screening here. Several people have
passed through but at the end with our
partners we meet to identify 272 per-
Asked about the COP s proposal to
contest all seats in the seven corpora-
tions, she said:
"The team met and that is still under
discussion. We have an open mind and
we are still in discussion so I would
not want to pronounce on it until those
negotiations are complete."
However, she agreed it would be to
the PP s best interest to fight the elec-
tion as one.
She added: "You can see in certain
corporations that if the votes are split
then the quota of votes.. even though
it would have come to the Partnership
as a whole but going to two separate
parties... then you will split your quota
and you could end up getting less than
if you combine votes together.
"For example, if the partnership gets
5,000 votes in all as one body fighting
but on the other hand we fought as
two parties and got 2,500, 2,500 you
see what has happened. Whereas if we
go in with that block of 5,000, of course
we are going to be in a better position,
so, of course, it is something that we
are going to consider seriously."
Asked what corporations it was
focussing on, given the Independent
Liberal Party s presence, Persad-Bisses-
sar said: "As always when we go in we
try to win all the corporations. On the
"However," she said, "in a mid-term
election expect anything... go brave,
let the people speak."
Noting that the Proportional Rep-
resentation Bill was passed in the Senate
yesterday, she said: "The job before the
party is not screening for the candidates,
it is also to identify at the same time
with input of
Debate on PR bill...
UNC begins screening
for 14 corporations
Former councillor for Montrose/Chaguanas Gopaul Boodan, left, awaits an
interview with the screening committee at the UNC head office, Rienzi Complex,
yesterday. The UNC has started its local government screening for various
constituencies. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Parliament to deal with Volney's 'office'
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