PM wants Aldermen for General Elections
Saturday, October 19 2013
PRIME Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar last evening announced that legislation to introduce proportional representation for the 2015 general election would be brought to Parliament soon.
However, the proposed bill would require a two-thirds majority and Persad-Bissessar said it was unlikely that the Opposition PNM would support it, just as it had objected to the implementation of proportional representation for Monday’s Local Government election.
Persad-Bissessar was speaking in an interview live on cable television station ieTV, channel 1, and also broadcast on 90.5 FM.
She was interviewed Caribbean Lifestyle Communications owner Anthony Maharaj, whose media house owns ieTV, channel 1, and 90.5 FM, and radio host Sadro Mohammed on a programme titled, “Platform”.
Persad-Bissessar had previously been invited by the TT Debates Commission to participate in a debate of the political leaders of the parties contesting Monday’s Local Government election.
However, her proposal to have Congress of the People leader Prakash Ramadhar debate on behalf of the PP was rejected by ILP leader Jack Warner and PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley, and the Debates Commission called off the leaders debate.
There was no notice from the Office of the Prime Minister that Persad-Bissessar would be interviewed by ieTV.
She briefly addressed the issue of proportional representation which seeks to give minor parties seats in governance, based on the number of votes they win in an election. Monday’s Local Government election would be the first time minor parties would get representation through the appointments of aldermen on 14 municipal corporations.
In the first hour of the interview, the Prime Minister addressed education and social issues.
She said there was always room for improvement in her Government.
“I will never be satisfied until we give water to everyone, jobs to everyone,” she said. Political advertisements of the PP were shown during breaks in the interview.
The Prime Minister focused on education, from laptops for secondary school students, to a promise of laptops for all students in the system to improvements in tertiary education. The Prime Minister reminded that it was a UNC Government which introduced the dollar-for- dollar programme.
She said that over $2 billion has been invested in GATE and thanked Tertiary Education and Skills Training Minister Fazal Karim for his work in making GATE a success.
“We have committed to education, from nursery to tertiary. We believe in the native genius of our people and we will continue to assist those who want to better their lives through education,” she said.
She boasted that last year alone, 59,476 students, the highest ever in this country’s history had been enrolled in a calendar year. She also expressed how proud she was at the On The Job Training (OJT) programme which has not only assisted persons with job placement but also improved their skills. “We inherited an OJT system that was dysfunctional where you basically went in to collect a stipend. But now people in the OJT not only collect a stipend, they have the opporutnity to make their OJT experience one that is a springboard for betterment.” She later took live calls from the public.