The Government expected defeat at the local government elections, Minister of Finance Larry Howai has said.
Speaking with the Express following the launch of the NIB pension seminar at the MovieTowne’s Banquet and Conference Centre, Invaders Bay, yesterday Howai said
“Well I think to a large extent the results were expected, the Government understood that. I think it provides a firm basis, on which the Government can now start to focus on dealing with the economy and with all of the other governance issues because the elections has been a bit of a distraction.
“Many MPs would have been involved in dealing with those issues so I think now that this is behind us; I think it’s a question of the Government refocusing its time and energies in ensuring that we achieve the mandate that the people of Trinidad and Tobago gave us in 2010,” Howai said.
Asked about the upcoming St Joseph by-election and how much of an impact he thinks it will have on Government’s focus, he said, he didn’t see it making as much of an impact as the recently concluded local government election.
“It is a smaller election so I don’t think the impact will be as much and I think this now gives us the opportunity to settle down and get back to work,” Howai said.
Responding to questions on Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley’s call for Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to call a general election following his party’s victory at the polls, Howai said, he sees no need for an election.
“The local government election has always tended to be different to the larger national election. I think the Prime Minister has indicated on more than one occasion that her intention is to fulfill the 2010 mandate that she got, so I think the focus will be on continuing with that mandate. Of course one would expect as is natural that the Opposition will make that call but I think the Prime Minister has been very clear in her position and will only deal with that mandate when the term has ended,” he added.
When asked whether he thought the COP was dead, Howai said, it was difficult to say because “Politics provides strange results on an ongoing basis.
There is a group that will continue to support the COP and I expect that support will continue to a large extent, the longevity of the party will depend on the actions of its leaders going forward from here.
“I think we just have to wait and see what happens. I don’t want to call that before it actually happens,” he added.