PEP wants Debe South nomination extended

THE Progressive Empowerment Party (PEP) wants nomination day for the Debe South by-election to be extended from Monday to January 31. The party made this request to the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) in a pre-action letter from its attorneys, J. Young and Co to EBC chief elections officer Fern Narcis-Scope.

In the signed letter, attorney Jose Young said the PEP has participated in every election since it was formed in 2017 and is interested in participating in the Debe South by-election which takes place on February 7.

Young said the EBC indicated in its election notice that its returning officer for Debe South will examine the validity of nomination papers of candidates on January 10, and nomination day for the by-election will be January 17. The PEP, Young continued, was confident of winning the by-election.

He claimed the time for the nomination process was unreasonable because of the covid19 pandemic.

Young said the PEP does not understand why the by-election needs to be conducted within such a short time frame, since there was no urgency in holding it last year after Debe South's former representative (UNC councillor Purushottam Singh) died on February 14.

In calling for nomination day to b extended to January 17, the PEP believes this will allow smaller political parties that lack the financial resources of larger political parties, a chance to prepare themselves to contest the by-election.

Young said the PEP is requesting a response from the EBC by January 17. Should that not happen, the PEP intends to seek relief from the High Court "to declare the unreasonableness of the commission's action in setting out time frames for this by-election in Debe South." The party has scheduled a press conference for Monday to state its legal options going forward.

To date, only the PNM and UNC have respectively announced Judy Sookdeo and Khemraj Sunil Seecharan as their candidates for the by-election.

Newsday was informed that Narcis-Scope has received Young's letter and will respond in due course.

The Prime Minister advised President Paula-Mae Weekes of the February 7 by-election date in a statement issued by his office (OPM) on January 3.

The Debe South seat falls under the jurisdiction of the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation (PDRC).

In the December 2019 local government elections, the UNC won all ten districts in the PDRC. The party also has four aldermen at the corporation.

In those elections, Singh convincingly defeated PNM candidate Jagessar Deodath by 2,859 to 103 votes. There are 12 polling stations in the district. Local government elections are constitutionally due sometime this year.


"PEP wants Debe South nomination extended"

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