Al-Rawi: Privy Council rules soon on local election polls

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Faris Al-Rawi – Jeff K. Mayers

FARIS AL-RAWI, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, said the date of the country’s next local government elections will depend on a ruling by the Privy Council due next Thursday. He was replying to questions at a televised virtual briefing on Monday.

Last November, in the High Court, Justice Jacqueline Wilson rejected legal action by social activist Ravi Balgobin Maharaj challenging Al-Rawi’s announcement earlier that month of a one year extension to the term of regional corporations, which critics said virtually ruled out local government elections until December 2023.

On February 10 in the Appeal Court, Justices of Appeal Prakash Moosai, Gillian Lucky and James Aboud also rejected Balgobin Maharaj’s cause.

The Privy Council will deliver an ultimate ruling on Thursday, following its hearing of the case on March 15.

Al-Rawi told the briefing, “We must await the Privy Council’s decision. As you know that will be delivered on Thursday. All I can say is that both main political parties – Government and the Opposition – have already made calls for nominations etcetera, some time ago.”

He said as minister his focus was on implementation.

“So we’ll have to abide by the position.

“Quite frankly, to me it makes little import. We all know there’s an election ahead of us. As to when that is, we’ll await the Privy Council’s direction. It’s an interpretation summons but that’s not the subject matter of why we’re here.”

The main theme discussed on Monday’s was a US court’s final judgment awarding about $1 billion to TT over the controversial Piarco Airport expansion project.