Monday, February 19, 2018

Al-Rawi: Presidential nominations just a 'farce'

People's National Movement (PNM) public relations officer Faris Al-Rawi yesterday called the People's Partnership consultation on the presidential nominations nothing more than a "farce".

Al-Rawi called an impromptu news conference yesterday at his office on Duke Street, Port of Spain, where he detailed the time-line of discussions between the Government and the PNM regarding the nominees for the country's highest office.

He said while the PNM called for meetings with the Government to discuss a consensus on a presidential nominee, they've only met once and even then United National Congress (UNC) chief whip Dr Roodal Moonilal did not say who was the Government's choice.

"Is the consultation which Dr Moonilal had a consultation? In fact it was a farce," he said.

"It would have been an impossibility for him not to have had a nominee or someone to have as a pre-cursor to a nominee," Al-Rawi said.

Moonilal met with PNM's chief whip Marlene McDonald last Wednesday and even then said the Government had no nominee.

"Ms McDonald expressed surprise at that outcome," he said.

Al-Rawi said the PNM wrote to the Prime Minister yesterday with its nomination, but said he was asked not to make the name public unless there was a consensus.

"We should consult on issues of national importance. There has been no consultation with the Government," he said.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced on Thursday that the Government would make its choice public on Monday, one day before nominations close.

But Al-Rawi says even with their nominations discussions, the government has not met with the PNM to discuss who would be the next President.

"That stands squarely in the face of the Speaker of the House having called for nominations by February 5," he said.

Al-Rawi said as the elections were brought up from its March 30 deadline to February 15, he would have done that on the backdrop of knowledge of nominations.

"The Speaker does not operate in a vacuum. He would have to be advised that nominations were ready," he said.

Al-Rawi said it was a surprising situation for the PNM to be told that the Government had no nominations.

"We should speak before the matter goes public," he said.