UNC promises wipe-out for PNM in Debe South by-election

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday


Kamla Persad-Bissessar

THE United National Congress (UNC) is predicting a “wipe-out” for the People’s National Movement (PNM) in the February 7 Debe South by-election.

“Rowley, you get wiped out in Tobago, you are going to get wiped out in Debe South. Is licks like fire, licks like peas. The UNC will win that seat,” Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar vowed on Monday night.

Speaking at the UNC’s first Virtual Report meeting for 2022, Persad-Bissessar said this is a year of change and a year of hope.

While there are many challenges, she said, “We need to reset our economy, put the economy on the right path, put people back to work, prepare children for opportunities in this ever-changing world.

“We need to deal with the public health sector. That sector is as dead as the over 3,100people who died because of covid.”

(In fact, as of Monday evening, he official death toll was 3.082.)

Promising to rebuild the nation to a better position, she said her teams are already on the ground in the electoral district, interacting with the electorate.

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

The PNM and UNC are the only two parties contesting this by-election. Nomination day will be January 17, and Persad-Bissessar said a candidate will be ready.

On the same platform, San Juan/Barataria MP Saddam Hosein referred to the PNM’s blistering defeat in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) elections as an indication of a similar outcome in Trinidad. in December. It was the second of two elections in 2021 and was held to break an earlier deadlock.

“We have seen the wind of change blowing. It is blowing from Tobago and soon, that hurricane will sweep through TT and the UNC will form the next government,” Hosein said.

Expanding from where he left off, Persad-Bissessar said, “Trinidad, wake up. Tobago wiped out Rowley and the PNM off the map. People in Trinidad, let us wipe Rowley and the PNM off the Trinidad map.”

Happy the by-election date had been announced, a year after Singh’s death, Persad-Bissessar chastised Rowley for doing so only after the UNC initiated legal steps.

“You (Rowley) had to push and pull, kicking and screaming to announce the date.”

She questioned why Government had to be threatened with legal action, “before we could get our basic rights.

“How many times must the UNC take you to court to knock down, lick down the bad laws you keep bringing and the bad decisions you are making – laws infringing constitutional rights?”

She said the PNM had a history of “not adhering to democratic principles when it came to holding local elections,” saying similar action had to be taken to force a by-election in the Barataria/San Juan region, following the death of a councillor a few years ago.

She also referred to the seven-year deferral of local government elections under the Patrick Manning administration from 2003 yo 2010.

She shared with the virtual audience the Government’s response to her pre-action protocol letter demanding a date for the Debe South by-election.

“You know what they write back and say? They can’t hold an election because of covid.

“You hear lie? That is lie. You had a general election in the middle of the pandemic in 2020, you had two THA elections in 2021 – but when it comes to Debe South, we can’t do it because of health protocols and covid. Lies, lies again.”