PM - I never said I would debate
"The Prime Minister regrets their decision, and believes it is wrong. She hopes that the Commission will continue to work to find a solution so that the second debate can go ahead".
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar today issued a statement in response to reports that she had opted out of tomorrow's Leader' Debate, and that the Debates Commission of Trinidad and Tobago had asked that she reconsider.
Persad Bissessar said she never made a commitment to participate in the debate and had no plans to change her mind on the issue.
The following in the full text of Persad-Bissessar's statement -
On October 3rd, the Trinidad and Tobago Debates Commission invited the main political parties to take part in two local election debates. There was speculation in the Trinidad Express newspaper and elsewhere, that the Prime Minister would take part in the leaders' debate. This was incorrect. At no time did the Prime Minister give any kind of commitment to participate, as the Debates Commission are in a position to confirm.
The People’s Partnership decided that, as both the UNC and COP are taking part in the local elections in their own right, and as one of the UNC's Deputy Political Leaders, Dr Surujrattan Rambachan, was to represent his party and the People's Partnership in the first debate, it would be appropriate for Mr Prakash Ramadhar, the Leader of the Congress of the People (COP), to represent the Coalition in the second of those debates. The Prime Minister informed Catherine Kumar of the Debates Commission of this decision on the 8th October.
The Debate Commission has apparently decided that it will not allow Mr. Ramadhar to participate on behalf of the People’s Partnership. The Prime Minister regrets their decision, and believes it is wrong. She hopes that the Commission will continue to work to find a solution so that the second debate can go ahead. However, she has not changed her mind about participation.