PM says no to foreign observers for elections

Prime Minister Dr Rowley - File photo
Prime Minister Dr Rowley - File photo

The Prime Minister has said he will not call in foreign observers to observe the local government elections, which he said are due in a few weeks.

He was speaking at a Breakfast with the PM event at the Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre on Wednesday.

The UNC has called for foreign observers to observe the elections, due soon as a result of the Privy Council judgment that government should not have extended the life of local government bodies by a year.

“We’re going into a local government election. We’ve had that over and over and over again. There’s one due in a few weeks.

"Some of our colleagues are telling me I must call in foreigners to observe our local government elections. No!

"What is it they expect to happen in a local election that we have to invite foreign observers? They’re free to come if they wish, it’s a free country.

“We’re always selling ourselves short. You know what we do? We send people from TT from our Elections and Boundaries Commissions to observe other people's elections, because they see us as super strong in that way.”

He said another reason he said no was because the PNM was without blemish. He said when the party lost in the polls for the first time in three decades, it went quietly to Balisier House and functioned in such a way that the electorate voted it back into office five years later.

“Who are you to come and tell us we must call observers to come and observe us in a local government election, especially one you’re undermining yourself? We are not, as the PNM, going to take that as par for the course in TT.”

Asked whether he had succession planning in place for when he retired, the PM said he has considered withdrawing from political life many times, the latest being before the 2015 election. He said he did not do so because he wanted the young people who joined his Cabinet to have someone with experience to lead them.

He said after this, leading up to the 2020 general election. he did not feel he could leave them to deal with leading the country through a pandemic.

The recent internal elections, he said, had seen even more young people come into leadership positions in the party.

Rowley said he felt confident that the young people in the party as well as young businesspeople were capable and responsible. He encouraged young people who wanted to enter politics to bring the best of themselves, and have confidence, honesty, and vision.


"PM says no to foreign observers for elections"

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