Monday’s local government election polls may very well be one of the highest in terms of voter turnout, according to Opposition leader Dr Keith Rowley.
Speaking yesterday morning on TV6’s Morning Edition, Rowley, in response to questions on stories in the media that the PNM’s victory at the polls was a hollow victory, said those media reports were misleading the public, because not only had the PNM won in many areas they had not previously made inroads in but the voter turnout was not as low as was being reported.
“The figures that we have show that we did very well, we ran a very vigorous campaign. We have won in areas in this election that we don’t normally win, which means we would have had to have done better than we did the last time so where are these stories coming from that we didn’t do as well as the last time? Where is all this discussion coming from about hollow victory?
“In fact it might very well be one of the highest local government election polls. The preliminary figures that we obtained from the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) show that 440,000 odd people voted and the turnout was quite good. We usually get in the 30 per cent voter turnout. That is why I keep asking, what is the source of their information?
“Why are we chastising the PNM for having won the elections? The EBC preliminary figures shows that the PNM got 188,000 votes and the remainder was split between the two other major parties,” he said.
Rowley added that he doesn’t know where other people were getting their figures from but the PNM got its preliminary figures from the EBC.
The EBC, he said, has until today to give the party the information on the aldermen and it would probably have the final election figures as well by then.
He also denied the PNM victory indicated that there was a return to tribal voting, because the PNM had wins in Rio Claro, Siparia, Couva, Tabaquite, Talparo and Chaguanas corporations.
“Since I have been with the PNM, I can’t ever recall us winning St James East which is a largely East Indian area. We are now in a recount in San Juan East—San Juan East is a largely East Indian area.
“We lost in Montrose by less than 100 votes, in Siparia we lost by less than 200 votes had we won that seat we would have taken control of the Siparia Corporation. We had success all over, what is this fixation on tribalism?” he asked.
Rowley also described Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar as an embarrassment to the country.
Asked his thoughts on the Prime Minister’s exuberance on Monday night following the ruling party’s local government elections loss, Rowley said: “I think the Prime Minister was embarrassing. As a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, I saw the Prime Minister on television on election night and she was an embarrassment to this country—because her conduct was unbecoming of the office she holds and this country had better take note when we treat office like that.”