The PNM has taken note of a letter written by the then acting President, her Excellency, Raziah Ahmed to the Prime Minister, dated June 17th 2015 and published in today’s newspapers, regarding the date of the upcoming General Election.
In this letter, the acting President confirmed the date of the Election as September 7th 2015 and stated that: “The Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission would be immediately requested to prepare the Writs of Election”.
However, three weeks after this letter was written, there is no evidence that the Writs of Election have been issued or published, and there has been no official statement on exactly what happened after the acting President wrote that letter of June 17th 2015.
Section 33(1) of the Representation of the People Act, Chap. 2:01 makes it clear that: “An election shall be instituted by a writ of election issued by the President under the Seal of the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago addressed to the Returning Officer for the electoral district for which the election is to be held; and every such writ shall be forwarded to the Commission for transmission to the Returning Officer to whom it is addressed.”
Further, Section 69 of the Constitution states that:
“A general election of members of the House of Representatives shall be held at such time within three months after every dissolution of Parliament as the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, shall appoint.”
Accordingly, in order to comply with the law, the date for the General Election must be contained in a Legal Notice and/or Gazette, published by or on behalf of the President. It is the EBC’s responsibility to select the Returning Officers for each Constituency, but it is the President who must issue the Writs.
The PNM considers it untenable that three weeks after the Prime Minister advised the President of the date of the Election, that no Writs of Election have been published, and we therefore call on all parties involved, whether it is the Election and Boundaries Commission or the Office of the President, to act with the required urgency, and to do what is required of them, in order to ensure that this issue is put to rest and the legal requirements of Section 69 of the Constitution and Section 33 of the Representation of the People Act, with respect to the publication of the official date for the General Election, are met.
People’s National Movement