PNM chairman Colm Imbert speaks during the PNM media conference at Queen’s Hall, St. Ann’s. Also in the photo are public relations office Laurel Lezama-Lee Sing and general secretary Foster Cummings. – AYANNA KINSALE
For the first time, the People’s National Movement (PNM) will have early voting in November for its internal elections in an attempt to increase the participation of its members.
At a press conference at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s on Tuesday, PMN chairman Colm Imbert said the party was trying to mirror the Elections and Boundaries Commission in its conduction of general elections and special voting. This would include polling cards and polling stations in all 41 constituencies.
“We are introducing an innovation into party politics that has never been there before, and this is as part of the recognition of the digital age and modernisation. So those persons who would not be able to vote on polling day, which is December 4, can come to all 41 constituencies, to the prescribed polling stations, and vote on November 26 and 27.”
To participate in this special voting, the member’s name must appear on the final voters list, and members must appear in person with an official form of photo identification.
He said covid19 restrictions over the past two years prevented the party from holding its usually activities including meetings, conventions, and elections.
“Now that many of the health restrictions have been lifted and health restrictions are restricted to hospitals and other sensitive installations, we felt, the party, it was appropriate that we can now have internal party elections for the officers of the movement. And that will be all posts starting with the post of political leader.”
The deadline for new applications would be August 24, the preliminary membership list would be circulated on September 10, nomination day for all posts would be on October 10, the updated membership list should be finalised on October 23, and poll cards would be mailed to members by October 24.
“And just like the general elections, if a person shows up on November 26 and 27, the person would be allowed to vote, they would be given a ballot. Just as happens with special voting in the general elections – they vote and their names would be removed from the voters list and they would not be eligible to vote at the convention which on December 4 at the Grand Stand in the Savannah.”
PNM general secretary Foster Cummings said there were over 100,000 members on the PNM database and over 25,000 new members joined over last two years, so there would be a rigorous voter verification process.
Regional offices would be set up in Port of Spain, Sangre Grande, Tunapuna, Arima, San Fernando, Point Fortin, Chaguanas and Tobago where members could visit to verify their information in the database. Members could also visit the PNM website or call hotlines at 622-1822 or 622-1012 to verify their data.
He added that the election would be administered and supervised by an independent elections supervisory committee appointed by the General Council.