Balance of power hung in Siparia
By Andre Bagoo Thursday, October 24 2013
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Showstopper: This ornate shalwar from the House of Jaipur was a definite showstopper at Bombay Dreams 4, The Finale held on Tuesday evening at the Hil...
THOUGH the United National Congress (UNC) won the municipal corporation of Siparia, it is likely to have a minority hold on that corporation because the Opposition parties at that corporation may have the upper hand if they team up.
On the basis of preliminary results, the Siparia corporation is likely to be split 6 - 5 - 2 between the UNC, People’s National Movement (PNM) and Independent Liberal Party (ILP) respectively.
On Monday, the seat went 5 - 4 for the UNC and PNM in terms of councillors/districts. However, on application of the allocation of aldermen based on the popular vote, the ILP is likely to get two aldermen and the UNC and PNM one each, bringing the result to 6 - 5 - 2. This means in theory that the UNC would be minority leaders of the corporation. If the PNM and ILP team up, they could defeat each UNC motion at the Siparia corporation.
The Siparia corporation has a history of being hung. At the 1999 Local Government Elections, the corporation was deadlocked at four seats each for the UNC and PNM. Lots were drawn and the corporation went into the UNC’s control.
The PNM’s chairman Franklin Khan and general secretary Ashton Ford yesterday declined comment on questions asking whether the PNM would form an alliance with the ILP in this corporation, stating they are awaiting formal results. There was no response from PNM political leader Keith Rowley. ILP interim political leader Jack Warner refused to rule out an accommodation.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said the deadlocked situation at another corporation, Chaguanas, “presents an opportunity” for true democratic representation because each vote has been taken into account, forcing possible collaboration between representatives.
Newsday yesterday exclusively reported that the municipal corporation is likely to be deadlocked even after the allocation of aldermen, meaning the balance of power would look like 4 - 4 - 4 for the Independent Liberal Party (ILP); People’s National Movement (PNM) and United National Congress (UNC) respectively. The Prime Minister suggested decisions could be taken on a case by case basis.
“The Local Government Elections result in the Chaguanas Borough Corporation presents an opportunity for the full positive impact of proportional representation to be felt by the citizens,” Persad-Bissessar said in a statement issued by her office on the basis of preliminary results which were yet to be confirmed by the EBC.
“My Government’s delivery of proportional representation reforms was intended to strengthen the democratic process by increasing the value of each vote,” she said. “This means that we now have an opportunity to ensure elected officials work together, without citizens being concerned that their interests are being brokered and horse-traded purely for power. Without this change in law, the PNM would have attained disproportionate power to make corporation decisions.”
Persad-Bissessar also said, “On Monday evening when I spoke with the nation, I was clear that reforms will now compel all councillors and all aldermen to work together to ensure that every discussion, decision and project must be hinged purely on the needs of the people.”
She further ruled out an collaborative arrangement with the ILP stating, “I also make clear that while my Government will work with anyone to ensure that our citizens receive the services and benefits they deserve, we will not engage in any negotiations with any party which supports criminals. To do that will not only be flying in the face of democracy, but also a subversion of the political process.”