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UNC elections after constitution review

Friday, February 7 2014

Even as the Opposition PNM prepares to hold its internal elections on May 18, the majority party in the ruling People’s Partnership Administration, the United National Congress (UNC) has put its own internal elections on hold until after a review of its constitution has been completed and endorsed by the party’s national executive (Natex).

In a media statement yesterday, the UNC stated the decision was taken following a meeting of Natex at Rienzi Complex, Couva on Wednesday night. The meeting was chaired by political leader and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

“The constitution reform team will submit to Natex a report and a draft constitution for consideration before the Natex meeting in mid-March. The objective is to have the new constitution ratified and operational before we celebrate our 25th anniversary on April 24, 2014,” stated the UNC.

According to the party’s current constitution, its internal elections are held every two years for all members of the executive except that of political leader whose election is held every three years. Persad-Bissessar was elected political leader on January 24, 2010, and her term was due to expire in 2013, however no election was held.

At Wednesday’s meeting, discussions centred on the internal elections and it was agreed the party would “allow an internal constitution review committee to complete its work and submit its report and recommendations to Natex for consideration and approval before the end of March.” UNC research officer Arnold Ram was appointed to head the review committee and, according to acting UNC chairman, Khadijah Ameen, has been engaged in the review for “quite some time”.

“The elections would be held after that (on a) date to be fixed,” the party stated.

The review committee has been mandated to undertake its work in the “context of the changing political landscape globally and to also consider changes in relation to the draft recommendations of the National Constitution Review Committee which recently published its findings for public comment.”

“Natex believes that this presents the ideal opportunity for the party to review its constitution which was written by the party’s founders 25 years ago,” the party stated.

Meanwhile, party groups have been formed in several constituencies including St Joseph and Tabaquite. The installation of 15 groups in St Joseph constituency will be held on February 11.

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