Clint Chan Tack
THE Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) is not contesting five local government by-elections which will take place on January 25.
MSJ political leader David Abdulah made this clear at a news conference on Sunday. Abdulah said the MSJ knew these by-elections would be held because former local government representatives were all elected as MPs in the August 10 general election.
“We decided we are not taking part in that and we have our own strategic focus which is really about raising consciousness in TT.”
Abdulah expected the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) elections, which will be also be held on January 25, to be keenly contested as it is a stand-alone election which is due every four years.
He observed that local government elections, which are constitutionally due in 2022, the voter turnout is generally lower than for a general election. “So when you have four or five by-elections, you have five different regional corporations in different parts of the country. One candidate, one seat in each.” Abdulah predicted, “The campaigns will be very low-keyed and I expect there will be little or no changes in the party that wins those particular seats.”
In a letter dated December 9 to President Paula-Mae Weekes, the Prime Minister advised that by-elections be held in Arima Central (Arima Borough Corporation), Morne Coco/Alyce Glen (Diego Martin Regional Corporation), Hollywood (Point Fortin Borough Corporation), Cunupia (Chaguanas Borough Corporation) and Hindustan/St Mary (Princes Town Regional Corporation).
The former representatives for these respective districts: Lisa Morris-Julian, Symon de Nobriga, Kennedy Richards Jr, Vandana Mohit and Michelle Benjamin, are now elected MPs. Nomination Day for these by-elections and the THA elections is January 4.
The PNM has already named five prospective candidates for these districts. UNC deputy leader David Lee last week said the party is still screening nominees for these seats.