“A people’s victory” is how Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar described the outcome of yesterday’s local government elections.
“I call on every citizen to rise, take a bow and feel proud. This is the first time in the history of our nation that regardless of whomever you voted...every citizen has won,” a smiling Persad-Bissessar said at the United National Congress (UNC) base in Penal last night.
She also addressed supporters at Rienzi Complex later last night.
Persad-Bissessar said the UNC had held its base in all the areas it contested, particularly the Penal/Debe Region, Siparia, Princes Town, Mayaro, Couva and Chaguanas.
“The greatest challenge was in Chaguanas. Guess what: we did not lose. Seeing those results this evening we have held our base in all our areas. I concede San Juan/Laventille; we never won that, but I’ll tell you what, we won our UNC seats in that corporation,” she said.
Preliminary results show that the UNC and People’s National Movement (PNM) have each won three districts in Chaguanas, with the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) winning two.
She credited the government’s proportional representation KAMLA from Back Page
reform, passed in Parliament just a few weeks before the election, as an historic moment for the country.
“Today is a historic day. For decades the idea of proportional representation has been on the agenda; we made it happen. And so when our citizens voted today, they did not only vote for councillors but also for aldermen. In the coming days the EBC will apply the formula (as per the legislation) will tally the votes and that will assign the aldermen. A substantial bloc of voters have always been left to feel that their vote has not counted. Tonight is a national celebration of a true national victory. Not a government victory, not an opposition victory. It is a people’s victory,” Persad-Bissessar said.
She acknowledged the potential for split votes in the run up for an election.
She said the polls reflected that “the change the vast majority voted for in 2010 has come”.
“Your strength and security has never been safer. We put God in front and hold hands. While we see the mix in voting we this is the essence of our democracy, and I welcome it for every citizen has won. Do not despair elected councillors, citizens your vote is sacred: vox populi, vox Dei,” she said.
She urged the newly elected councillors and other representatives to “put aside now the acrimony of the campaign of the last few weeks”.
“I call on all to join hands as we sit at the council tables we pledge only one interest the people’s interest. With proportional representation the council table will not be about haggling purely for political interests. Reforms will now compel all aldermen, councillors that every decision, project, discussion must be purely for the needs of the people,” she said.
She also reminded citizens of their new, more empowered responsibility that comes with proportional representation and demand service and delivery from representatives.
Just like her reminder to MPs on Saturday that if they do not reconnect with the people they will be fired, she issued notice to representatives to “literally stay on the ground” in service to the community.
Nevertheless, the Prime Minister, who is also political leader of the UNC, was proud of the outcome for her party and the strength of her party and government.
“My government, the party remains your government tomorrow morning. Tonight and tomorrow morning I am still your prime minister. My commitment is to ensure that as long as a focus is on service I will fight with you and stand with you. I will work with whomever is elected but I tell you in my own heart we held the fortress of Siparia (the region in which her constituency is located). May God continue to bless all of you,” she said.