Attorney: Election postponed for pandemic unlikely

Attorney Larry Lalla. -
Attorney Larry Lalla. -

Attorney and former temporary United National Congress senator, Larry Lalla, said it is possible to have a state of emergency in TT owing to the covid19 pandemic, but it is unlikely that the general election could be postponed.

"The Constitution, particularly sections 68 and 69, it appears that the only time when the life of the Parliament could be extended beyond the normal five-year limit is if the country is at war. The mere fact that there is some infectious disease in the country does not permit the life of the Parliament to be extended beyond five years."

He told Newsday, even with the present virus the Parliament has to be prorogued five years after it first starts.

"So I cannot see there being any constitutional validity to extend the life of this government beyond the five years and possibly three months."

He said having this amended legislatively would be difficult as it would require a three-fifths majority.

He added, however, that under section 8 it is clear that a state of emergency can be called if there is an infectious disease in the country which warrants the curtailment of citizens' rights in the context of a state of emergency.

"But extending the life of the Parliament is a separate matter."

Attorney Avory Sinanan SC told Newsday, postponing the general election would be precedent on the declaration of a state of emergency and not simply say it is "for the health of the nation."

"The caveat is that there is some still time from when the election is constitutionally due."

He said that since everyone is using technology with the covid19 restrictions, political parties could possibly campaign via the internet rather than calling upon people to come to meetings.


"Attorney: Election postponed for pandemic unlikely"

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