THE Prime Minister has given the assurance that the local government election will be held later in the year contrary to reports that it would be postponed.
In fact, Dr Rowley told reporters that a date has already been set, but he did not divulge it. He said it "will be made available very soon.
"I keep hearing some of my colleagues in the Parliament and elsewhere talking about postponing and rigging the election. That is just hot air from the people who have nothing else to say. The population can rest assured the local government elections will be held in the appropriate time frame."
He was speaking to the media outside the San Fernando East constituency office at Navet Road, San Fernando, where there was screening for candidates in three corporations — San Fernando, Siparia and Point Fortin.
Rowley, who heads the screening committee, expected yesterday’s process to end "well into the night."
The People's National Movement began its screening process on Saturday for the upcoming election, with the prospective candidates for the Sangre Grande regional corporation.
The Opposition Leader has been accusing the Government of having intentions to postpone the election to next year because it fears it would not win.
Rowley said: "We have always maintained that the elections will be held when they are due. This current term ends sometime in November. So, we are well on the way. The screening has started so we will be in a position to call the election well within the allotted time. There has never been any intention to, and there is no plan to postpone the election."
The last election was held in November 2016 – a year after the PNM won the general election, and is constitutionally due this year.
The Prime Minister told reporters that the process is one the PNM is accustomed to.
Usually, he said, people in positions expect to return, new ones expect to replace them, and vacancies are filled.
"This is an integral part of the process in the constitution where we have a screening standing committee made up of people who hold specific offices. Constituencies are given time to nominate, that time has now passed. We try to select the best candidates for the PNM to retain our position in local government and continue to contribute to national development."
Point Fortin MP Edmund Dillon, as well as Rural Development and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein and other officials accompanied the PM.