Davidson-Celestine: Fresh election only way to go

FILE PHOTO: Political Leader PNM Tobago Council Tracy Davidson-Celestine arrives at the 11th Inaugural session of the Tobago House of Assembly 2021-2025 swearing-in ceremony, Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort Lowlands, Tobago, on January 28.  Photo by JEFF K MAYERS
FILE PHOTO: Political Leader PNM Tobago Council Tracy Davidson-Celestine arrives at the 11th Inaugural session of the Tobago House of Assembly 2021-2025 swearing-in ceremony, Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort Lowlands, Tobago, on January 28. Photo by JEFF K MAYERS

The People’s National Movement (PNM) Tobago Council remains adamant that the only way to resolve the deadlock in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) is for voters to return to the polls.

The PNM and the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) each won six electoral districts in the January 25 THA election.

But the new assemblymen failed on three occasions to elect a presiding officer after rejecting the candidate put forward by either party to oversee the THA’s proceedings.

The PDP has since sought legal advice with a view to ending the stalemate in the House.

The party also sent a pre-action protocol letter to the Office of the Clerk of the House for what it regarded as breaches in procedure during the failed vote to elect a presiding officer.

The Prime Minister proposed at a recent news conference that amendments to the THA Act be taken to Parliament and passed to allow for a fresh THA election.

If the amendments are passed, it would allow the Elections and Boundaries Commission to increase from 12 to an odd number, such as 15, the number of electoral districts in Tobago so as to ensure there are no deadlocks in future elections.

Dr Rowley said a draft amendment could be before the Cabinet in a matter of days.

On Saturday, Senior Counsel Martin Daly suggested a fresh election be called with the existing 12 electoral districts.

“Only in default of a result producing control of a majority of seats should there be an alteration in the number of seats,” he had said in a statement.

Speaking to Newsday on Tuesday, PNM Tobago Council political leader Tracy Davidson-Celestine said returning to the polls is the best democratic option at this time.

“The intent of the THA election is for the people to determine who they wish to govern them for the next four years,” she said. “All we are saying is let the people decide.”

Davidson-Celestine, who won the Lambeau/Signal Hill seat, again endorsed the prime minister’s proposal to amend the THA Act to give way to a fresh election.

“Amendments will have to be made to allow the process to move forward and we await further guidance on this matter.”

She added the party will share additional information with the population as time progresses.

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