OUR COVER STORY by PETER GREEN
Our sources have confirmed that the date for the Local Government Election has been confirmed as of Monday, December 9, 2019.
This is the date, our sources have confirmed, that is acceptable to the Elections & Boundaries Commission, the legal and independent authority established under the constitution for the supervision and control of all elections in Trinidad & Tobago though the government of the day has the ultimate say in deciding the date.
December 9 is the best date, our sources have told us that the government is considering since all schools will be closed on Friday, Dec 12 and there shall be no school exams in the last week of school before their closure for the Christmas holidays so, consequently the disruption to the school work will be minimal.
This no doubt had factored into Dr Rowley’s thinking as any responsible Prime Minister should consider.
“The mark has been buss”
Now that “the mark has been buss” by Sunshine Today, which newspaper and its publisher Dr Rowley and his administration have publicly and consistently demonized it will be no surprise if the date is now shifted to December 16 – a mere week before Christmas – on the ludicrous assertion that all schools will be closed then and since their buildings are the ones to be used, in the main, for this exercise then that will be the better date.
However, many persons in Rowley’s Cabinet have made it clear that the December 16 date will be most inconvenient since it is too close to Christmas and, more importantly, it will not give the Councillors enough time to parade in their electoral districts giving out gifts and trinkets to their electors for Christmas many of whom they have not seen for the last three years and who have not seen them. Many of the Councilors are even unknown to the voters.
Generally, over the years, the voting population of a little more than 1m voters in Trinidad do not take this election seriously but this year may be different since the two major political parties – the PNM and the UNC – intend to use the results of this election as a barometer of their popularity for the General Elections which are due next year.
There is very serious dissatisfaction in the nation in how the Rowley administration is running the country and it is felt in many quarters that this will adversely affect the PNM vote.
Voters are still very concerned about the state of the economy notwithstanding the illusion of a good 2019/20 budget which was read out on Monday last.
Citizens are concerned about the crime situation in the country and the PR stunt by Stuart Young, Minister of National Security in La Horquetta last week has impressed no one. He is just being viewed as one who is obscenely piggy backing on the popularity of Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith.
Citizens are also concerned about the high levels of unemployment and under-employment, the nation’s failing infrastructure, secret deals by the government, the high cost of living, the persistence of the “cancer of corruption” and the poor health situation in the country, just to name a few.
Several promises made by the government in 2015 have not been fulfilled
Several promises were made by the government in 2015 which promises, to date, the government has not fulfilled and the government’s haste to turn sod and cut ribbon all over the country, as well as the paving of roads hither and thither, are strategies which governments have tried before and strategies which will result in ignominious failure.
The Political Leader of the PNM, Dr Keith Rowley is generally not well-liked nationally (in spite of the fraudulent poll by Nigel Henry a couple of months ago) and his arrogance and talking down to the citizens as well as diplomats and international organisations continue to tarnish his image – of which he seems not to care.
Many PNM supporters are saying that they will not vote but this, on the other hand, does not necessarily mean that these votes will go to Ms Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s UNC. Too many within the UNC are missing the political boat and their strategies, if any, have not shown that they possess what it takes to form an alternative government.
Rodney Charles faux pas, valorising the PNM on a UNC platform is a revelation of the state of the mind of the collective UNC because even through it all, the voice of correction to his support of the PNM was a weak “unc” in the background.
In the Parliament, the voice of the Opposition is weak, the biting vitriol of which men like Dr Roodal Moonilal has been silenced and there are too many errors being made that suggests that the UNC will be a laughing stock come 2020.
Already within the Government camp rumours are flying that attacks are being prepared to categorize Kamla as one who cannot hold her drink after many contretemps in no other place than our Parliament.
Kamla says she was on medication. Yet there are many who say otherwise. But the truth is that since Jack Warner has left the UNC, there is no one there to manage the brand called UNC and to protect the image of its leader.
This is what is hurting the UNC and it is easy for one sitting from the outside to conclude that the heirs to the UNC throne are waiting silently, applauding every error Kamla has made so when she is dethroned, they can step up to the plate and take over.
At present UNC is a joke but given the state of the nation, no one can afford to laugh.
It is the current state of the UNC that has emboldened the PNM to consider the calling of the Local Government Elections because they see the UNC as being weak at the moment and they believe that the UNC cannot provide much of a challenge.
Had the Opposition been strong, the PNM would have never even considered December 9 as an option because of their bad performance since the Government was voted into power in 2015.
A multiplicity of political parties
One of the people’s greatest complaint is the removal of solid waste within their communities.
The schedule has changed, fewer trucks are passing through the communities and the pile-up of garbage is symptomatic of the thinking and decision making the people get from the PNM Government.
The drains in all the communities are overgrown and slush has weakened their capacity to carry the volumes of water it was designed to take. This is not only a Central Government matter but also a Local Government as well.
Plastic bottles are still impeding the drains and pools of water protecting the mosquito lava are all about our communities exposing its citizens to sicknesses like malaria and dengue; Local Government used to take care of the hygiene within communities but sadly, today these are neglected on the spurious cries of not having any money.
Trucks no longer pass around spraying. Health inspectors seem to be a thing of the past. And yet, with all these anomalies, the PNM is still, very bravely and very boldly, prepared for the Local Government elections and the only reason one can see is because of the weakness of the Opposition.
A third party needs to rise, a third party needs to test the waters.
People are fed-up with both Rowley and Kamla, the PNM and the UNC because neither one offers governance that is different from the other. So, at the end of it all, the people suffer because of a PNM that is red but not ready and will never be and a UNC that has shown us that it does not know how to rise.
Today the country suffers from a multiplicity of political parties some 14 at the time of writing. Everyone ones to be a Prime Minister because their egos are too large to be humble.
However, if these political parties are serious between now and December 9 there is sufficient time to build a strong coalition against both the UNC and the PNM and, for starters, this can be done in various Regional Corporations.