Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 28th 2013 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
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Saturday, September 28, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
There is expected to be a fierce political
battle over the next several weeks as parties
now have to gear up not only for the Octo-
ber 21 local government elections but also
the St Joseph by-election on November 4.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
announced the date for the by-election after
the seat was declared vacant by Speaker
Wade Mark during yesterday s sitting of
the Lower House.
In her brief address, Persad-Bissessar
said despite the universal mid-term dip in
popularity felt by governments around the
world, her PP Government has not sought
to defer any elections.
She said there were mechanisms the Gov-
ernment could have employed to do so,
noting during the Patrick Manning-led Peo-
ple s National Movement (PNM) adminis-
tration, the local government elections had
been deferred by an act of Parliament three
times using its parliamentary majority.
"We had that majority too, but we have
not used the majority to abuse the rights
of the public interest of T&T," she pointed
Persad-Bissessar said the PP was not
fearful of the public s assessment of its per-
formance, and the Government did the right
thing by calling the local government elec-
tions despite calls for their deferral. The
records "will show that democracy is strong
in T&T," she said.
By year s end, the PM noted, the country s
political landscape would have been coloured
by four elections, two of which have gone
already: Chaguanas West and the Tobago
House of Assembly.
Reiterating that past governments had
deferred elections because some people felt
holding them was not in the political interest
of the ruling party at the time, she said: "I
say it before and I say it again, that the
Government that I lead will always serve
the people s interest ahead of any narrow
political interest and that we will be judged
by how we serve the country first and party
After the announcement there were
shouts from the opposition benches that
the PNM was ready, to which Mark jokingly
said, "Okay, I am ready here."
Leader of Government Business Dr Roodal
Moonilal said afterwards that the PP intend-
ed to screen for a by-election candidate
within the coming days.
"Time is limited but we intend to
mobilise for both local government and
constituency," he said.
Moonilal said the PP was very positive
going forward and hoped to retain the St
Joseph seat, though he expected a fierce
political fight for both elections.
The UNC is expected to announce its 136
candidates for the local government elections
on Monday at Harris Promenade, San Fer-
PNM senator and PRO Faris Al-Rawi said
the party welcomed the announcement of
the date of the by-election.
"The PNM is ready to take St Joseph,"
"There are many people who are eager
to hold the PNM flag in the race for the St
Joseph seat. The party s screening committee
is spoilt for choice and I am confident that
a truly excellent candidate will emerge."
The PNM will present its 136 local gov-
ernment candidates tomorrow at Woodford
Robin Montano, interim chairman of the
Independent Liberal Party, said the
announcement was welcome and that the
ILP is ready, willing and able.
"We are as confident of victory as we
are confident that the sun will rise and we
will see it rise and hear the birds sing," he
St Joseph by-election days after local govt...
• Continues on Page A3
He also said there was no swimming pool at
the house, in Hillsboro, Maraval.
Hinds said he continued to be heavily indebted
in respect of his property and would continue to
"work hard and honestly" to meet his obligations.
"I call on the Attorney General to set the public
record straight and retain the services of a valuator,
in order to obtain a real value of my house, if
indeed he is really so interested. This would correct
the value he foolishly put on it whilst on his legs
on the floor of the Parliament," Hinds said.
He also slammed the media for "allowing them-
selves to be used by Ramlogan" and said news
outlets had carried amplified stories of Ramlogan s
statements about the value of his property.
"It is, in my view very unfortunate, that the
Attorney General and his media enthusiasts will
use my house as a place to hide behind his inability
to explain his tremendous wealth-acquisition
within recent years."
Hinds further called on Ramlogan, who he said
had publicly admitted "acquiring three properties
valued at several million dollars in upscale com-
munities," and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar to do as he was doing and show how
they had acquired their properties, whether
acquired before or after assuming ministerial office.
PM, AG must open Section 34 records
He also called on all the government officials
involved in the Section 34 e-mail probe to allow
those investigating the matter---the police and the
Integrity Commission---to allow them access to
"I also call upon the Attorney General, the
Prime Minister and others involved in the e-
mail/Clause 34 investigation, to do like me and
authorise Google or other respective Internet serv-
ice-providers, to make available to the police and
the Integrity Commission, all their Internet records
relevant to that investigation. A user can so autho-
rise and I have a precedent which Google has
accepted in the past; and which I am willing to
make available to them all," Hinds said.
Efforts to contact Ramlogan last night were
unsuccessful as calls to his cellphone went unan-
AG, PM to
Opposition senator Fitzgerald Hinds'
home in Maraval, Port-of-Spain.
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