EBC renames 5 constituencies, changes boundaries of 16

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

FILE PHOTO: Elections and Boundaries Commission Central Electoral Office, Scott House, Frederick Street, Port of Spain. –

WHEN voters go to the polls in general elections due next year, they will meet five constituencies bearing new names.

Further, some 16 constituencies will see some voters being moved into or out of neighbouring constituencies.

These changes are listed in the 2024 review of constituency boundaries by the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC), laid in the House of Representatives on Friday.

The report said the total number of constituencies in TT will remain at 41.

The report listed the new names of five constituencies.

It said, “Arouca/Maloney is to be renamed Trincity/Maloney.

“D’Abadie/O’Meara becomes Malabar/Mausica. Lopinot/Bon Air West will be renamed Arouca/Lopinot.

“The constituency of St Joseph is to be renamed Aranguez/St Joseph. Pointe-a-Pierre becomes Claxton Bay.

“The remaining 36 constituencies are not recommended to be renamed at this time.”

The report said the EBC reviewed the names of constituencies “to more properly reflect the geographical areas encompassed within a constituency.”

Building patterns were examined by GIS and analysed by algorithm for each constituency. These were coupled with community mappings to derive suitable names of constituencies, largely based on the geographic extent of settlements and the identification of representative communities.

The report hinted at future name changes to constituencies on top of the five named ones, saying, “The commission also considered that, so as to minimise any confusion in the minds of the electorate, it will recommend these name changes on a phased basis.”

The report explained why certain boundary changes are made.

“In Trinidad and in Tobago, respectively, the electorate in any constituency shall not be more than 110 per cent nor be less than 90 per cent of the total electorate of the island divided by the number of constituencies in that island.”

The report said the 1,095,080 population of Trinidad fitting into 39 constituencies would give an average of 28,079 people per constituency, equating to a permissible lower limit of 25,271 (90 per cent) and upper limit of 30,887 (110 per cent). To get the 52,163 residents of Tobago into two constituencies gives an arithmetical constituency average of 26,082 people, with a permissible lower limit of 23,473 and upper limit of 28,690 people.

Changes to the boundaries of 16 constituencies arose from certain areas having too many or too few residents, based on these 90 per cent lower limits and 110 per cent upper limits.

“Four constituencies: Toco/Sangre Grande, D’Abadie/O’Meara, Caroni Central and Cumuto/Manzanilla fall above the permissible upper limit, while five constituencies: Port of Spain North/St Ann’s West, Port of Spain South, San Fernando East, San Fernando West and Pointe-a-Pierre fall below the permissible lower limit.”

For these nine constituencies to be compliant with the population limits, the report listed the 16 constituencies where changes would be required.

The other seven constituencies to be affected by boundary changes in the nine non-compliant constituencies are Arima, La Horquetta/Talparo, Laventille East/Morvant, Laventille West, Oropouche East, Tabaquite and Trincity/Maloney.

The report also remarked on the altering of boundaries, “Natural boundaries such as major highways and rivers shall be used wherever possible.”

It urged special attention to the needs of sparsely populated areas which due to size, isolation or poor communications cannot adequately be represented by a single MP.