Chief election officer Ramesh Nanan said yesterday that names of aldermen were submitted without a hitch.
For the first time in a local government election, some 382 names of prospective alderpersons were submitted yesterday—Nomination Day—to the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC), by the political parties under the new system of proportional representation. This is in keeping with the requirements of the Municipal Corporations Amendment Act.
The People’s National Movement (PNM) submitted the full complement of 136 names for alderpersons, as well as 136 names for councillors.
The councillor will face the electorate on October 21, while the alderpersons will be selected based on the proportion of votes won by the party.
The People’s Partnership—consisting of the United National Congress (UNC), Congress of the People (COP) and National Joint Action Comittee (NJAC—collectively submitted 126 alderpersons and more than 126 councillors.
The UNC handed in 76 names, the COP 54 and NJAC six as prospective alderpersons.
The Independent Liberal Party (ILP) is fielding councillors in all 136 electoral districts. But it did not present a full complement of 136 names for alderpersons. It submitted 120 names for prospective alderpersons.
Based on the names submitted, a fierce competition is developing in the race for aldermen, in addition to the traditional electoral battle for the positions of councillors.
Former vice-president of the Senate, George Hadeed, two former ministers—Junia Regrello and Anthony Roberts—and a former senator, Laurel Lezama, are on the PNM ticket for alderpersons.
Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation president Raymond Tim Kee and attorney and former Nidco president Kaisha Ince are among the prominent names on the PNM list of prospective alderpersons to serve on the Port of Spain City Corporation.
Notably absent from the PoS Corporation list is outgoing mayor Louis Lee Sing.
Hadeed and Lezama’s names are on the list of alderpersons being proposed by the PNM for the Arima Corporation; Regrello’s name is on the list for the San Fernando Corporation; and Roberts for the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation.
Meanwhile, former PNM activist Christine “Twiggy” Levia and former diplomat Sheila Solomon are on the COP list of names of alderpersons being proposed for the Port of Spain City Corporation.
Former ambassador to Brazil, Robert Torry and former NAR activists Curtis Pierre and Rolf Bartolo are among the alderpersons’ list for the Diego Martin Regional Corporation, forwarded by the COP.
The COP also is suggesting activist Wendell Eversley and attorney Clyde Weatherhead as alderpersons for the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation.
The UNC’s list includes Chaguanas Mayor Orlando Nagassar and a scion from the well-known Mohammed political dynasty, Alimuddean Mohammed (San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation).
It will be a case of Mohammed versus Mohammed, as his first cousin, Nafeesa Mohammed, appears on the PNM list for the same regional corporation.
The COP appears to be sticking with current mayor Ravi Muradali in San Fernando and businessman and incumbent mayor Ghassan Youseph on the Arima Corporation as both names are being proposed as aldermen.
Similarly, PNM incumbent Point Fortin mayor Clyde Paul’s name is on the list for alderperson.
Under the new system of proportional representation for the selection of alderpersons, each party has the opportunity to submit the same number of alderpersons as there are councillors, for each corporation.
While the councillors were required to individually file their nomination papers with the Elections and Boundaries Commission, the party’s general secretary or senior officer filed the names of the aldermen.
Nanan said because a list of alderpersons is a requirement of the party, a party officer could file all those names.
Nanan said the EBC last night was still collating data about the overall figures for the councillors, as well as aldermen. He said the Commission was also working to ensure the information goes to the Government Printery as soon as possible.
The Government Printery is due to start printing ballots today for the 136 electoral districts.
Under this system of proportional representation, there would be four aldermen in each corporation. Therefore each party would have to select between one to four alderpersons out of the list they have submitted for the corporation.
The winning party is expected to get three of the four alderpersons, if they win 75 per cent or more of the votes cast. If they earn just over 50 per cent, the party would receive two alderpersons, while the minority party/parties would have an opportunity to get the two remaining aldermen depending on the percentage of votes they receive.
Nanan said the alderman would have to satisfy the same criteria as councillors, save and except the residency requirement.
All councillors must live or own property in their electoral district. Alderpersons are not so required, he said.
“They [alderpersons] must demonstrate knowledge and expertise in professional and vocational occupations suitable to the developmental focus of the municipality,” he said, citing the Act.
Based on the information provided by the parties, it appears that NJAC is running against the COP in three electoral districts in Port of Spain—East Dry River, Belmont East and St Ann’s River Central.
NJAC is also contesting against the UNC in four electoral areas in the San Juan/Laventille district--Beetham/Picton; St Barbs/Chinapoo, Morvant and Success/Trou Macaque.
However, NJAC is contesting the Point Fortin district on behalf of the People’s Partnership, where it will go against the PNM and ILP.
See Pages 4, 5 and 9