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 UNC Activist Loses Bid to Stop Extension of Local Gov’t Elections

Ravi Balgobin Maharaj

UNC Activist Loses Bid to Stop Extension of Local Gov’t Elections

ACTIVIST Ravi Balgobin-Maharaj who challenged the amendment to the Local Government Reform Bill  has had his injunction dismissed.

It was dismissed by Justice Jacqueline Wilson on Wednesday.

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Balgobin-Maharaj, part of the electorate in  Maracas/Santa Margarita, had challenged the government on the amendment which allows local government councillors and aldermen to serve an additional year in office.

Wilson took in consideration, the impact of the disruption of services provided by aldermen and councillors when the decision was made.

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Balgobin-Maharaj was represented by lead attorney Anand Ramlogan, SC as well as  Jayanti Lutchmedial, Renuka Rambhajan, Robert Abdool-Mitchell, Natasha Bisram and Vishaal Siewsaran. 

Representing the state were Douglas Mendes, SC, Rishi Dass, Leah Abdulah and Anala Mohan.

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On December 3, based on previous legislation, the terms of all aldermen and councillors last elected on December 2, 2019, would end.

However, based on statements made by Minister of Rural Development and Local Government Faris Al –Rawi, Wilson said, “There is no complaint of the amended provisions of the Municipal Corporations Act, but the complaint is that the interpretation by the minister leads to unlawful results.”

The judge is expected to hear Balgobin-Maharaj’s substantive challenge in January.

Earlier this month, Al-Rawi announced that under the Miscellaneous Provisions (Local Government Reform) Bill 2020,  the terms of all councillors and aldermen currently in office will end on December 3, 2023 instead of 2022. 

Local government elections were constitutionally due on December 3, 2022, or up to a three-month period afterwards.

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