Government must clarify if a proposal in the local government reform bill — which seeks to extend councillor terms from three to four years — is a "back door" way to postpone local government elections.
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar called for clarification at last night's UNC Monday Night Forum at Diego Martin North Secondary School.
She noted that the Miscellaneous Provisions (Local Government Reform) Bill 2019 was laid in Parliament last Friday night and expressed concern about clause three (c) of the Bill which she noted seeks to vary the term of councillors from the current three-year period to four years.
Noting that T&T is on the eve of a local government poll, she queried if this was a back door way to postpone the election.
"They know they can't win local government elections and they are finding a back door way to extend it," she said.
She said if that happens the local government poll may not happen until 2021.
However, she said the proposal was a subvention of democracy.
She pointed out that the UNC gained ground in the 2016 Local Government Election and the 2017 by-election.
Persad-Bissessar said General Election is due in 2020 and the Local Government Elections are due between November 28 and February 2020 for the latest.
She expressed concern that the proposal in the bill can put two of the elections in the same period.
Persad-Bissessar said the government should have proposed a more equitable distribution of resources among all regional corporations. She said she intends to file a constitutional motion on that issue.
- by Gail Alexander