TTDC: We had no other choice
Joel Julien firstname.lastname@example.org
THE Trinidad and Tobago Debates Commission (TTDC) yesterday issued a release stating it had no other choice but to cancel Tuesday’s planned political leaders’ debate after three of the four expected participants signalled their intention not to appear.
The TTDC said it issued the release following “lots of talk” in the public questioning the decision to cancel the debate.
The debate was cancelled by the TTDC on Monday night—the day before the event was scheduled.
On Sunday, whether the debate would be held came into question after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar publicly announced Congress of the People leader Prakash Ramadhar would be representing the People’s Partnership coalition.
The TTDC said this was a breach of its “criteria for participation”.
Dr Keith Rowley, of the People’s National Movement, Jack Warner, of the Independent Liberal Party, and David Abdulah, of the Movement for Social Justice, were to represent the respective parties they lead at the debate.
Persad-Bissessar’s non-participation caused a domino effect among the other scheduled debaters.
“There has been lots of talk about why the Debates Commission did not allow the debate to go on with or without the PP (People’s Partnership), in the interest of the wider public, given our mission ‘to strengthen the democratic process by staging debates on matters of national importance to assist the electorate in making informed political choices’,” the release stated.
“It should be noted that the Debates Commission only came to the decision late Monday evening after all our efforts had failed to get both Dr Rowley and Jack Warner to debate even though the leader of the People’s Partnership decided not to debate.
“That therefore left us only one candidate willing to debate, ie, David Abdulah. A debate needs at least two parties. We therefore had no choice but to cancel the debate.”