ON May the 18th the Privy Council ruled that changing the term of representatives in the Local Government Reform Act passed by a PNM majority without opposition support was wrong and cannot happen as the representatives were elected for a three year term in 2019.
Local government elections were supposed to be held on March 4, 2023 but coming out of the partial proclamation of the local government reform legislation, the current Government put forward that the elections would be conducted a year later.
The Privy Council verdict means the extension of the term of office of the local government corporations is not valid and the elected aldermen and councilors cannot continue to perform their functions after March 4, 2023.
So there is only one real option the government has, that is, to call local government elections now but they must also bring legislation in Parliament to ratify all decisions by the various corporations that occurred between March the 4, 2023, to date.
The opposition leader called this a landmark verdict and a victory for the people, to have better representative democracy, as it was wrong for the government to extend the term of aldermen and councilors and this was to take control of the function of the electorate.
So in my humble opinion, elections must be called now as any contract awarded by any corporation may be deemed illegal since March 4, as the opposition have pointed out over the last couple of days, the government has run out of options and must call local government elections now.
Don’t we all find it strange that although the media have tried to reach the prime minister, AG Armour and Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi, for comments on the government’s next step, we have heard nothing from any of them.
Just deafening silence!
Dr Neil Gosine is an insurance executive. He is also the treasurer of the UNC and a former chairman of the National Petroleum Marketing Company of Trinidad and Tobago. He holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Master’s in Business Administration MBA, BSC in Mathematics and a BA in Administrative Studies. The views and comments expressed in this column are not necessarily those of AZP News, a Division of Complete Image Limited.