Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley yesterday criticised Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s hurried decision to reform the Municipal Corporations Act 1990 before the October 21 polls.
He said, “Proportional representation is not to be sprung upon the population like a thief in the night, on the eve of an election, which the Government is guaranteed to lose.”
Rowley said he also notes the action by the Peoples’ Partnership Government to announce this decision on their way to Parliament, without even the courtesy of informing the Opposition or allowing even cursory public discourse on this fundamental matter.
“This vulgarity is a hastily hobbled together offer, not unlike what was attempted during the recent THA (Tobago House of Assembly) elections when the Prime Minister hurriedly brought a bad bill to Parliament, purporting to give Tobago internal self-government,” he said.
He further stated it is to be noted that after the 12-nil defeat which the Government faced in the THA election, the said bill was allowed to lapse, having been brought to light only for political expediency.
Rowley said the Prime Minister floated a trial balloon, aimed at postponing the local government election, but rigorous, sustained public rejection has resulted in the Government withdrawing that option from the table.
“She has now come up with this patently self- serving attempt to improve the UNC’s (United National Congress) chances of winning seats in areas where they expect to be wiped out on election day. This is being done to deal with the reality that the UNC will not be able to win any seats in areas which they now control, through the first-past-the-post system, for example, in Diego Martin and Chaguanas,” he said.
According to Rowley, “It matters not how the Prime Minister and other members of the Cabinet attempt to sugarcoat this hurriedly put together proposal, it is clearly a crisis management tool, aimed at dealing with the UNC’s rejection across Trinidad and Tobago as recorded in the Tobago House of Assem-
bly election and in Chaguanas West.”