T&T: Date set for by-election
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Sept 27, CMC – Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar Friday named November 4 as the date for the by-election in St. Joseph, minutes after Speaker Wade Mark had indicated that the seat had become vacant.
Mark had earlier this month declared the seat vacant after former justice minister Herbert Volney had indicated he had resigned as a member of the United National Congress (UNC), the biggest partner in the coalition People’s Partnership administration.
Mark had earlier this month declared the seat vacant and had under the law given Volney 14 days to legally challenge the position.
Volney, a former High Coiurt judge, who had accused Mark of acting a judge, said since he had no more interest in elective politics he would not go to the courts given the prohibitive costs even though he had been told by senior counsels that he stood a good chance of reversing Mark’s ruling.
Prime Minister Persad Bissessar , who has just returned from addressing the United Nations General Assembly, said the by- election is in keeping with good government practices and democratic principles.
“I have advised His Excellency the President that the date for the by-election will be November 4, 2013,” she told legislators.
The main opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) as well as the recently formed Independent Liberal Party (ILP) of Austin “Jack Warner, the former national security minister who resigned and successfully contested the Chaguans West by election in July, are expected to nominate candidates for the poll.
There is likely to be one independent candidate, with television broadcaster and comedian Errol Fabien publicly indicating his desire to contest the election.
The by election will come less than two weeks after voters in Trinidad elect representatives to the Local Government bodies on October 21, and it will again be a test for the popularity of the coalition that came to power winning 29 out of the 41 seats in the 2010 general election.
Since then the coalition partner, the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) party has lost the Tobago House of Assembly elections and the UNC being defeated in Chaguanas West, considered its stronghold.