The three major political parties, as well as the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) were locked in activities yesterday as preparations heated up for Nomination Day tomorrow.
This means all nomination papers must be presented tomorrow to the returning officers for processing and validation of all nominees from the 136 electoral districts in the country.
On October 21, eligible voters will go to the polls to elect their candidates in the local government elections.
This time around, however, there will be one difference.
According to acting chief elections officer Ramesh Nanan, the new feature will be the submission of lists for prospective aldermen.
“The new feature would be the submission of the list from which aldermen would be elected in accordance with the amendment to the Municipal Corporations Act 2013,” he said.
According to the amendment which was passed in the Upper House on September 12, for the first time in the history of local government elections, aldermen will be elected on the basis of proportional representation.
“There can be no change to the lists after tomorrow, which will comprise an equal number of persons to the number of councillors in that particular municipality,” Nanan said.
Nanan added the lists will be presented to him at the EBC’s head office at Scott House, Frederick Street, Port of Spain.
He said since there were no clear rules governing the process of submission, the EBC had formulated guidelines which were circulated to the established political parties in order to prevent any misunderstanding on nomination day.
“The lists of aldermen will be submitted to me by the respective parties contesting the election, rather than to the returning offices, and the reason is because of an absence of clear guidelines. In this way all parties will have a uniform position with respect to submission of the lists tomorrow,” he said.
Nanan said he expects everything to run smoothly for the process which will be conducted during the hours of 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the respective returning offices.
The People’s National Movement (PNM) is expected to present its candidates at Woodford Square in Port of Spain today, while newcomer to the arena, the Independent Liberal Party (ILP), will present its slate today as well at Endeavour Lands, Chaguanas.
The coalition People’s Partnership is expected to stage its presentation of candidates at Harris Promenade, San Fernando, tomorrow night, following the nomination process.
Interim ILP leader Jack Warner told the Sunday Express yesterday that the party has reported a record-breaking screening process through the period September 3-18.
The ILP in a statement yesterday indicated that the screening committee had conducted sessions throughout the 14 Regional Corporations, interviewing 516 people vying to represent the ILP as councillors in the 14 municipalities.
“The requests to serve as aldermen were even greater. In the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation, the ILP had its largest turnout, 59 people for 15 seats with the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo region a close second with 57 people for 14 seats.
The ILP was shocked at the welcome it received in areas such as Siparia, Point Fortin and Laventille where people not only turned up for screening at the sessions but also to express their thanks and pledge their support for the ILP in the upcoming local government elections.”
The party said its biggest surprise was in the number of women who came forward offering themselves to serve.
The ratio was two to three in favour of women.
“Another statistic, which stunned us at the level of the screening committee, was the amount of youths who were willing to serve. These were young people, most of them with first degrees having just completed their courses at the university,” the statement added.
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