NTA preparing for local government elections

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo: National Transformation Alliance (NTA) leader Gary Griffith.

THE National Transformation Alliance (NTA) became the fourth political party to signal its intention to contest the upcoming local government elections. Already contesting are the PNM, UNC and Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP).

In a brief comment on the matter on Monday, NTA political leader Gary Griffith disclosed that the party’s campaign manager is fully engaged in working out the particulars of the NTA’s local government elections campaign.

Griffith said, “What I can share is that we are definitely participating in the upcoming local government elections.”

He added,”Preparations are taking place at a pace and we will soon be making the formal request for candidates.”

In a statement on May 1, the PNM said the Prime Minister issued a call at a PNM General Council meeting on the same day, for nominations from party members interested in offering themselves to be considered as candidates “for the imminent local government elections.”

Dr Rowley, who is also PNM political leader, said, “The PNM is determined to improve the local government system and we look forward to the new system of local government with the reform in the new term.”

The period for nominations is May 2 to June 3. Nomination forms are available from all PNM constituency executives and from the PNM’s Central Regional Office.

Screening of nominees for all 141 local government electoral districts in Trinidad will begin on dates and times to be announced after June 3.

UNC chairman Davendranath Tancoo said the party is currently inviting nominations for local government candidates and will begin screening nominees soon.

PDP political leader Watson Duke said the party is well poised and positioned with respect to its preparations for local government elections.

At a news conference on November 3, 2022, Rural Development and Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi said under the Miscellaneous Provisions (Local Government Reform) Bill 2020 – which was partially proclaimed on November 8, 2022 – the terms of all councillors and aldermen will end on December 3, 2023.

He said this extra year provides time for the roll-out of the local government reform package and there is a three-month period after this date within which local government elections can be held. Prior to this change, the councils’ term would have ended on December 3, this year, and elections would have been due within three months.

Al-Rawi said, “Within the extra year, we will be able to build out all the relevant sections of the law, including taking councillors who are executive members and making them into secretaries similar to the THA; operationalising 13 separate divisions inside local government divisions, including planning, engineering, audit and accounting, sporting and recreation, etc.”

Prior to this extension, the life of local government bodies would have ended on December 3, 2022.

The PNM and UNC each currently control seven of the 14 local government corporations in Trinidad.