In it's usual style of deceit and cunning the People's Partnership Government has chosen the vacation period of our Parliament to try and shove a piece of legislation down the electorate's throat. Legislation which will not only affect us during next year's general elections but for generations to come. The spokepersons for the People's Partnership Government has tried to mask and camouflage the seriousness of the run-off vote with fluffy things like two terms for Prime Minister and the right to re-call.
In the first instance Trinidad and Tobago has never had a problem with long serving Prime Ministers as Dr. Eric Williams is the only Prime Minister to ever serve more than two terms consecutively. After Dr. Williams the T&T electorate has exercised their franchise and removed sitting Prime Ministers, therefore stipulating two terms as if it's something we should be grateful for is like offering a bicycle to someone who owns a motor vehicle.
The right to recall is another red herring as based on what is proposed it can only be enforced after three years of the election date, which means any misfits in office basically have 36 months to steal as much as they want and mismanage our affairs. After three years 2/3 of the electorate in that constituency must sign a petition if they wish to remove the MP, this petition must then be forwarded to the elections and boundaries commission and then a bi-election called. In a country where a court case takes 12 years to be completed and the Integrity Commission takes a whole year to begin questioning someone who has been accused of misconduct, you can see how convoluted the process to recall an MP would be. By the time we reach the stage of having a bi-election to remove the MP it will be the next general election.
The PP Government is not being truthful by not telling people all the countries they used as examples as having run-off elections are countries who use run-off elections to elect one person, usually an executive president. They do not use run-off elections to select every single MP. Nowhere in the Common Wealth is there any precedent for using run-off elections in a general election.
What the PP is proposing is that if there are 21 seats and PP wins 6, the PNM wins 14 and in 1 seat PP gets 35%, COP 20% and PNM 45% of the vote, the president cannot elect a new government or Prime Minister and Mrs. Persad-Biessessar and the current PP Government remains in office until a clear winner is announced in the contested seat. How on earth can that be democratic? How does that improve the democratic process for the average citizen? The only thing this run-off vote will do is cause political and economic instability and cause alienation and strife in the society.
This run-off vote has the potential to cause violent civil disruptions the likes of what we are only accustomed to seeing on international news. If the PP Government has its way, we could very well see the end of a peaceful transfer of power after elections in Trinidad and Tobago and a constant case of political turmoil. This is what the legacy of the Kamla Persad-Biessessar People’s Partnership Government will be, a legacy of instability and chaos.