EBC reports smooth Nomination Day process

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 - 11:00

The rul­ing Peo­ple’s Na­tion­al Move­ment and Op­po­si­tion Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress are the on­ly two po­lit­i­cal par­ties field­ing full teams of 139 can­di­dates each for the De­cem­ber 2 Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment polls.


Sev­er­al small par­ties—the Port-of-Spain Peo­ples’ Move­ment, Move­ment for So­cial Jus­tice and Con­gress of the Peo­ple—are al­so field­ing can­di­dates in cer­tain ar­eas. And a few peo­ple from both the PNM and UNC are con­test­ing as In­de­pen­dents in cru­cial “bat­tle­ground” ar­eas, in­clud­ing San­gre Grande and Tu­na­puna/Pi­ar­co.

The sce­nario emerged af­ter yes­ter­day’s Nom­i­na­tion Day ex­er­cise when can­di­dates con­test­ing the elec­tion filed nom­i­na­tion pa­pers with the Elec­tions and Bound­aries’ Com­mis­sion (EBC). Af­ter reg­is­tra­tion, the EBC stat­ed that Chief Elec­tion of­fi­cer Fern Nar­cis-Scope had con­firmed that all ini­tial re­ports point­ed to a smooth event-free process.

Reg­is­tra­tion Day was a colour­ful event in cer­tain ar­eas which are ex­pect­ed to be hot­ly con­tend­ed, with some can­di­dates parad­ing to EBC of­fices to the strains of tas­sa or ac­com­pa­nied by teams and high-rank­ing par­ty of­fi­cials such as min­is­ters, MPs and sen­a­tors. At 6.15 pm, EBC of­fi­cials said the in­for­ma­tion was still be­ing com­piled on the fi­nal num­ber of can­di­dates, in­clud­ing re­port­ed In­de­pen­dents.

Checks re­vealed that Videsh Ram­s­ingh, out­go­ing UNC al­der­man in San­gre Grande, filed nom­i­na­tion pa­pers to con­test San­gre Grande South as an In­de­pen­dent. He said he want­ed to of­fer pub­lic ser­vice. San­gre Grande, where UNC and PNM tied for that cor­po­ra­tion in 2016 LG elec­tions, has been wide­ly ac­knowl­edged as the “bat­tle­ground” which could de­ter­mine the up­com­ing elec­tion’s out­come. Ram­s­ingh will be com­pet­ing against PNM and UNC can­di­dates.

Mar­tin Gon­za­les, out­go­ing PNM Mara­cas/San­ta Mar­gari­ta coun­cil­lor in Tu­na­puna/Pi­ar­co, al­so con­firmed he filed to con­test in­de­pen­dent­ly in the same seat and will be fight­ing PNM and UNC can­di­dates there.

“Peo­ple asked me to con­tin­ue serv­ing them due to my track record. It’s noth­ing against any po­lit­i­cal par­ty,” Gon­za­les said.

Oth­er in­de­pen­dents were re­port­ed in Ch­agua­nas but one re­port­ed­ly dropped out. EBC of­fi­cials said full fig­ures should be known by to­day.

PNM pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer Lau­rel Leza­ma-Lee Sing said: “All 139 of our can­di­dates suc­cess­ful­ly filed nom­i­na­tion pa­pers. No one had any prob­lems or dis­crep­an­cies so we have a full slate for the elec­tion and we’re busy cam­paign­ing.”

PNM is in south Trinidad at Skif­fle Bunch pan yard tonight and is ex­pect­ed to have a pub­lic meet­ing at the Croisee in San Juan on Thurs­day.

UNC gen­er­al sec­re­tary Dev Tan­coo told the T&T Guardian: “Our full slate of 139 can­di­dates was suc­cess­ful­ly reg­is­tered with EBC by 1 pm yes­ter­day—no prob­lems. We, how­ev­er, got a re­port of al­leged as­sis­tance ren­dered to a PNM can­di­date in San Juan. We’re re­ceiv­ing a state­ment on this and once re­ceived, we’ll sub­mit a writ­ten com­plaint to EBC. It didn’t af­fect our can­di­dates in San Juan but if there’s any is­sue, we ‘d like it on record. We’re now in full cam­paign mode: more one on one en­gage­ment with peo­ple, less big meet­ings.”

The PNM and UNC are both con­test­ing in cap­i­tal Port-of-Spain along with Louis Lee Sing’s Port-of-Spain Peo­ple’s Move­ment (PPM)—a three-way con­test for the 12 PoS seats.

But while PPM’s 12 can­di­dates were suc­cess­ful­ly reg­is­tered yes­ter­day, Lee Sing com­plained of “dis­re­spect­ful treat­ment” by PNM’s Port-of-Spain con­tin­gent when he ac­com­pa­nied PPM can­di­dates to file nom­i­na­tions.

“The Red (PNM) team en­gaged in heck­ling me out­side of the EBC’s re­turn­ing of­fi­cer’s premis­es around 10.30 am/11 am. That in­clud­ed call­ing me no neck. It was a group of large­ly women be­hav­ing in a way more suit­able to a broth­el and Mr Young was most present cap­tain­ing the group. He didn’t say any­thing to me but he cer­tain­ly didn’t stop the PNM’s dis­grace­ful be­hav­iour or try to set a bet­ter ex­am­ple for his team,” he said

Young didn’t an­swer calls. Lee Sing said his ini­tial can­di­date for St Anns’ Riv­er South (for­mer PNM PoS coun­cil­lor Ash­tine Thoma­son) was re­placed by Mitchell Richard­son since Thoma­son’s change of ad­dress due to a fire dis­qual­i­fied her from con­test­ing in St Anns’ Riv­er South. Al­so, PPM’s orig­i­nal St James East can­di­date Shel­don Ali was re­placed by Justin Bai­ley since Ali’s ad­dress dis­qual­i­fied him.

Move­ment for So­cial Jus­tice leader David Ab­du­lah said the par­ty ini­tial­ly planned 35 can­di­dates con­test­ing in about eight cor­po­ra­tions. But the fi­nal num­ber reg­is­tered yes­ter­day was 26 can­di­dates con­test­ing in Point Fortin, Siparia, San Fer­nan­do, Diego Mar­tin, San Juan/Laven­tille and one seat in the Princes Town Cor­po­ra­tion.

“There were some mi­nor is­sues for some of our can­di­dates in places like San Fer­nan­do but every­thing was sort­ed out,” Ab­du­lah said.


COP leader Car­olyn Seep­er­sad-Bachan said the par­ty had prob­lems in reg­is­ter­ing its planned 15 can­di­dates and up to last night she had con­fir­ma­tion that on­ly nine had suc­cess­ful­ly filed nom­i­na­tions.

“COP can­di­dates got through in Diego Mar­tin, San Fer­nan­do, Cou­va, Ch­agua­nas and San­gre Grande. But we had the most prob­lems with our can­di­dates for Tu­na­puna/Pi­ar­co,” she said.

1,079969 el­i­gi­ble to vote Dec 2

The EBC’s cur­rent elec­torate list shows a to­tal of 1,079,969 peo­ple are el­i­gi­ble to vote on De­cem­ber 2.

Yes­ter­day was al­so the dead­line for sub­mis­sion of Spe­cial Elec­tors’ ap­pli­ca­tions.

In the No­vem­ber 2016 poll, elec­tors num­bered 1,054,817.

Then, PNM won with 174, 7554 votes to UNC’s 180, 758, both tied in San­gre Grande. Six oth­er small par­ties got a to­tal of ap­prox­i­mate­ly 2,886 votes. In­de­pen­dents polled 1, 071. Vot­er turnout was 34.34 per cent with a to­tal of 362, 254 votes cast.

Reporter: Gail Alexander