Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 15th 2013 Contents RICHARD LORD
MP for St Joseph as five can-
didates filed nominations for
the November 4 by-election.
The Aranguez Main Road
was filled with drama shortly
after nine yesterday as can-
didates arrived at the Elections
and Boundaries Office.
Shortly before 10 am the
candidate for the United
National Congress (UNC),
CNC3 Crime Watch host, Ian
Alleyne walked along the main
road to the office with the
caretaker MP for the con-
stituency, Environment and
Water Resources Minister
Ganga Singh, and Attorney
General Anand Ramlogan.
He was accompanied by a
music truck and about 100
supporters wearing yellow
He met and greeted people
as he approached the office
of the Returning Officer to
file his nomination papers. He
later told reporters he was
seeking election "to settle a
score, to deal with the crim-
He said he was taking 14
days leave from Crime Watch
and he would be back. He said
he wanted to be MP to take
crime-fighting to a different
level. During his brief inter-
view supporters of the Inde-
pendent Liberal Party chant-
ed, loudly: "Sell out! Sell out!"
Moments later the UNC sup-
porters started a chorus of
"Ian! Ian! Ian!"
Alleyne said he would "not
respond now to what they are
saying about being a sell out.
Alleyne was expected to
"tell all" at last night's meeting
of the UNC in Fyzabad.
"It will be the truth, against
lies," Alleyne added.
The People's National
Movement's candidate Ter-
rence Deyalsingh, a former
senator, was the third candi-
date to arrive. Deyalsingh was
accompanied by PNM public
relations officer, Senator Faris
Al-Rawi and a handful of
After filing, Deyalsingh said
he was "so happy and elated"
and was now preparing to "do
the ground work" in St
Joseph. He said a PNM victory
next month would signal the
return of "a calm and decency
in St Joseph."
Deyalsingh said he was
unhappy about the crowd of
UNC and ILP supporters out-
side the office with loud music
being played by music truck
from the two parties, saying
Nomination Day should be "a
solemn and quiet day."
He said he was confident
of victory at the polls.
ILP candidate Om Lalla
was third to arrive. After filing
his nomination papers, he told
reporters the by-election
would be one that had never
been seen before in the coun-
"It is going to be heated,
exciting (and) what we are
going to see is a foundation
being laid for the next general
According to Lalla a lot was
at stake and no political pun-
dit could call the election
Admitting he was confi-
dent of victory, Lalla said:
"This fight will be between
the ILP and the PNM." He
said Alleyne would get third
place in the five-candidate
The first to file was Inde-
pendent candidate, media
owner Errol Fabien, who told
reporters he was confident of
victory as an Independent
Saying he was a resident
of the constituency, Fabien
said he was intent on cham-
pioning the needs of the peo-
ple in Parliament. He said he
wanted to get the little things
the people of the constituency
Fabien said under the Con-
stitution candidates were
allowed to spend a maximum
of $50,000 in campaigning.
He said candidates who spent
millions of dollars were break-
ing the law. He said his cam-
paign would involve walking
to the homes of constituents
and not big political meet-
He said he would "knock
on doors and ask people for
He said the other candi-
dates were nice guys.
The fifth candidate who
filed nomination papers yes-
terday was Michael Lopez, of
the Democratic National
Assembly (DNA). He said he
would speak about his cam-
paign later this week.
There was some tension
yesterday as police ordered
the music trucks to stop play-
ing music as nomination
papers were being filed. They
later advised the crowd of
UNC and ILP supporters to
leave the precincts of the
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The anticipated televised leaders
debate planned for this evening by
the T&T Debates Commission
(TTDC) has been cancelled because
of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar s refusal to participate.
She gave her final word on the
matter in a release late yesterday
evening, saying at no time did she
ever give any commitment to par-
"The T&T Debates Commission
(TTDC) has decided there will be no
Leaders' Debate on Tuesday 15th
"It is unfortunate that Mrs Kamla
Persad-Bissessar has chosen to del-
egate her responsibility to take part
in the Leaders' Debate as the leader
of the People's Partnership," a release
from the TTDC at 7 pm last evening
"It is a sad day for democracy
when efforts to have open and inde-
pendent debate among the leaders
of the political parties/coalition are
thwarted by the action of one group."
The PM's refusal crashed the
debate since Independent Liberal
Party (ILP) interim leader Jack Warn-
er had said he would not participate
if she did not. He also sent a release
to that effect shortly after the PM's.
Thousands of citizens, who had
viewed the first debate between rep-
resentatives of the political parties
last week and expressed intense
interest in today's leaders' debate,
were left disappointed.
The PM's final word came in a
release from the Prime Minister's
Office at 4.37 pm, up until which
time the TTDC was still hoping she
would have changed her mind.
However, the release from the
PM's Office yesterday was headlined:
"PM will not attend debate".
It said speculation that Persad-
Bissessar would participate in the
debate was incorrect.
It added: "At no time did the
Prime Minister give any kind of com-
mitment to participate as the Debates
Commission is in a position to con-
"The People's Partnership decided
that, as both the UNC and COP are
taking part in the local elections in
their own right, and as one of the
UNC's deputy political leaders, Dr
Surujrattan Rambachan, represented
his party and the People's Partnership
in the first debate, it would be appro-
priate for Mr Prakash Ramadhar, the
leader of the Congress of the People
to represent the coalition in the sec-
ond of those debates.
"The Prime Minister informed
Catherine Kumar of the Debates
Commission of this decision on the
"The Debates Commission has
apparently decided it will not allow
Mr Ramadhar to participate on
behalf of the People's Partnership.
"The Prime Minister regrets their
decision and believes it is wrong.
She hopes that the commission will
continue to work to find a solution
so that the second debate can go
ahead. However, she has not changed
her mind about participation."
The TTDC had planned that if
the PM did not participate, it would
have still staged the debate with
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley,
Warner and Movement for Social
Justice leader David Abdulah.
The face-off between the PM and
the TTDC came about over the Gov-
ernment's decision to have Ramad-
har represent the People's Partner-
ship in the debate.
The TTDC had countered that,
based on its rules, it would not
accept any alternative to a leader
and, up to yesterday afternoon, said
it left the invitation to the PM open
and had not yet officially cancelled
The TTDC maintained its posi-
It said: "We advise that an alter-
native for any of the leaders invited
is not an option. We therefore
respectfully reject any alternatives
"Our agreement was made with
the leaders of the various political
organisations invited and with the
public mandates that only leaders
participate at the Leaders' Debate."
"No substitutes are permitted, as
we have to ensure that we treat all
parties equally and abide by the same
TTDC chairman Andrew Sabga,
on CNC3's Morning Brew Pro-
gramme yesterday, had already
frankly expressed his disappointment
with the PM's stand.
Catherine Kumar, CEO of the T&T
Chamber of Commerce which set
up the TTDC, said the commission
had spent all of last week trying to
get her to agree.
Asked to respond to public com-
ments that the PM was afraid to
square off with the other political
leaders, Kumar said: "We will not
even go there."
Kumar said it was not that the
TTDC had rejected the COP but that
the invitation was not extended to
individual parties within the coali-
tion, only to the leader.
A number of people, saying the
new level of politics introduced by
the debate was refreshing, tweeted
their disappointment online during
the day about the PM's refusal to
PM refuses to attend so...
Leaders' Debate called off
PNM St Joseph candidate Terrence Deyalsingh, accompanied by
his daughter, Nadia, second from left, and wife, Shema, along the
Aranguez Main Road to the returning officer's office to file his
nomination papers yesterday.
Alleyne among five in St Joseph race
ILP interim political leader Jack Warner, left, raises the arm of
his candidate for the St Joseph seat, Om Lalla, as they walk
along the Aranguez Main Road to file nomination papers at the
returning officer's office yesterday. PHOTOS: MARCUS GONZALES
DNA St Joseph candidate
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