THE turmoil in the People’s National Movement (PNM) in the past week has caused Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar to declare nominations open for all seats for the next general election, anticipating that it may be called early.
She said the saga of the Marlene McDonald arrest and charge, her firing as both a Cabinet minister and deputy political leader, the discovery of a criminal charge against a sitting Senator and his subsequent resignation had caused the government to collapse. Persad-Bissessar repeated her mantra to the Prime Minister, “Call the elections now.”
She told supporters at a public meeting at the Gasparillo Secondary School on Tuesday night: “Today I declare that nominations are opened for all seats for the general election.”
She said while her party had previously invited nominations for constituencies not held by the UNC, the net has widened for all seats.
“Nomination is open. The gates are opened for every single seat in TT.”
In the midst of screening candidates for the local government elections due later this year, the PNM is also screening for candidates for five marginal seats now held by the UNC, though the general election is not due until 2020.
The PNM has already announced Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat as its choice for Chaguanas East and Senator Daniel Dookie for Pointe-a-Pierre.
PNM screening for local candidates continued at Baliser House on Tuesday.
The UNC has already screened candidates for seven of the 14 regional corporations and Persad-Bissessar said screening for the other seven will continue this week.
Her party will hold its national congress on Sunday at the Couva South Hall, where it is expected that candidates already screened and accepted for the local polls will be presented.
Also, on Sunday, constituency executives elected last month to the Women’s Arm and Youth Arm will be sworn in.
“My friends," said Persad-Bissessar, "these two elections that are imminent – local government and the general election – are critical to our nation’s future.
"You, the citizens of TT, will choose the leader and team with the vision and plan to take our country forward.”
She said the Rowley administration has shown it is incapable of governing the affairs of the country, is in complete disarray and the centre has collapsed.
She promised a return of growth, prosperity and sustainable development, if her party is given a second opportunity to serve.