...Pleased with proportional representation outcome
PROPORTIONAL representation has “worked wonderfully” despite the “teething problems” that were experienced, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said.
Persad-Bissessar defended the People’s Partnership’s decision to support the inclusion of proportional representation in the local government election.
“I am very happy with the entire process, the entire exercise that took place, an exercise in democracy. For the first time you are seeing now the voices of minorities would be represented on corporations because of the legislation we have passed relating to appointment of aldermen,” Persad-Bissessar said.
She said proportional representation worked exactly as it was “envisaged”.
“It has worked exactly as we envisaged it would work. It ensures that those who acquire 25 per cent of the popular vote that you would be entitled to a voice in the institution. It is a very, very democratic way of representation rather than you may get less votes in the entire regional corporation but you win by the majority and the minority voice is left out,” Persad-Bissessar said.
She slammed claims that proportional representation backfired.
“No, it did not backfire. We envisaged this could happen. In fact, in the debate we did show how it could happen in areas where the PNM (People’s National Movement) for example would never have gotten an alderman would now be getting one and areas where the UNC (United National Congress) would never have gotten one, would now get one,” she said.
“So it has not backfired. It has worked wonderfully well. There may be teething problems in that it is taking a little longer to compile and collate but then it is the first time. I have not seen anything in it that is negative or contrary to a true democratic process,” Persad-Bissessar said.
The Prime Minister said she was not of the view that “missteps” by the UNC caused its coalition partner Congress of the People (COP) to perform poorly at the polls.
“I am not of that view. Then why did the UNC win any of the seats we contested? Let’s make it very clear. We contested eight corporations as the UNC. One of them we have never won even at the height of the 2010 campaign, so we did not envisage a win there but we did pick up seats.
“The others we have done very well, we won five and one is uncertain with the alderman issue, whether that is hung or not,” she said.