Rowley sets August 14 for local government elections

Port of Spain, Trinidad – Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Tuesday named August 14 as the date for the Local Government Elections, less than two weeks after he told Parliament that the date would be announced after the necessary legislation was passed in keeping with the ruling of the London-based Privy Council.

In its ruling last month, by a 3-2 majority, the London-based  Privy Council, the country’s highest court, had ruled that while the extension of the life of local government bodies last December by one year was unlawful, it was not a constitutional breach and did not deprive people of their right to vote.

Rowley said late last month that the legislation to validate all acts of the various corporations from December 2022 up to the May 18 this year and for the further three month period from that date would be presented to Parliament before the LGE is held.

A brief statement from the Office of the Prime Minister Tuesday noted that Rowley had advised the President Christine Kangaloo of the date for the LGE and that Nomination Day will be Monday June 26.

Rowley had said last month that the time for calling an election had now past and that the government was duty-bound to call an election in accordance with the statutory procedure prescribed in the Act and the Representation of the People Act.

On Monday, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar led an opposition walk out of the Parliament as legislators debated amendments to the Municipal Corporations (Extension of Terms of Office and Validation) Bill 2023.  Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC, introduced the bill but made no statement.

Last week, the bill was passed in both houses with additional amendments.

Persad Bissessar said that since the Attorney General “stayed totally silent, we cannot debate this matter to give our support to it or not give our support…”

The Opposition Leader clashed with the Speaker, Brigid Anisette-George, after claiming that the opposition was not being allowed to speak to which Anisette-George said that was not true and asked Persad Bissessar to stay within the confines of the Standing Orders.

“I take total objection to this course of action and I will not partake in this debate,” Persad Bissessar said, who had been calling on the government to name the date for the LGE or face the possibility of legal action. (CMC)