COP considers Debe South by-election

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The Elections and Boundaries Commission head office, on Frederick Street, Port of Spain. – Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

THE Congress of the People (COP) is considering contesting the Debe South by-election on February 7.

In a brief comment on Tuesday, COP political leader Kirt Sinnette said, “At this present time, we are looking for a suitable candidate.”

A statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on Monday said the Prime Minister had advised President Paula-Mae Weekes that the by-election would take place on February 7 and nomination day will be January 17. He has asked for the election writ for the by-election to be issued in accordance with the provisions of Section 29 of the Municipal Corporations Act.

The Debe South seat became vacant after the death of councillor Purushottam Singh on February 14, 2021. The district falls under the jurisdiction of the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation (PDRC).

On Tuesday, the PNM and the UNC each said they had begun inviting nominees for candidates for the by-election.

The Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) indicated it is unlikely to contest the by-election.

The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) said it is preparing for the poll.

In the 2019 local government elections, the UNC won all ten seats under the PDRC. In Debe South, Singh defeated the PNM’s Deodath Jagessar by 2,859 to 103 votes.

Local government elections are constitutionally due in Trinidad this year. The PNM and UNC each currently control seven of the 14 local government corporations in Trinidad.

The COP, a former member of the UNC-led People’s Partnership (PP) coalition government from May 2010-September 2015, parted company with the UNC after the PP was dissolved in 2015.

In his New Year’s message, Sinnette criticised the PNM and UNC for the current state of governance in Trinidad and Tobago.