“Every X goes in (the ballot box) one by one.”
So said Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley as he urged the electorate to do its civic duty in tomorrow’s local government election which will determine who will run the various corporations.
“No seat has ever been won outside of the polling station...Monday is the most important day of this campaign,” he told the gathering at the Jean Pierre Complex, Port of Spain as he urged PNM voters to work towards the opportunity to demonstrate once again that PNM is the premier party in the Caribbean and a national institution in the political arena in Trinidad and Tobago.
In his 12-minute address the Prime Minister made the point that he as Prime Minister had done his part, calling the election promptly upon the expiration of the term of the life of the councils.
He said as the councillors went out of office on Friday, new councils would come into being following tomorrow’s election.
This brief interregnum (when the chairmen and mayors continue in office until a new council is sworn) leaves no room for excesses by chairmen and mayors.
“Friday was the end of the corporations’ (life)...and on Monday night you the people...have an opportunity to go out and elect a new council. That has never happened in Trinidad and Tobago before. We have had many instances of rolling over of councils, postponing of elections, election day a long way from the end of the life of the council, with the chairmen in office, all kinds of accusations about chairman doing this and chairman doing that, and minister doing this and minister doing that. On Monday morning none of that would have happened because by midnight, we would know who the councillors are in every corporation,” he said.
“So when we say, ‘we doing it right and we getting it done’, this is the most outstanding example of ‘doing it right, and getting it done’, without fear or favour and with boundless faith in our destiny,” the Prime Minister said.
If you abstain, you can’t complain
The Prime Minister said he knew that there were a number of citizens who viewed local government as an area of activity in which they should not participate.
“I simply want to say to every citizen who is qualified to vote that if you take the position that you are not going to participate at the polls, I hope that you would be taking the position that you are very satisfied with what the others who went to the polls chose for you. Those who go to the polls will choose for all of us,” he said.
The atmosphere at yesterday’s concluding rally was electric. And the Prime Minister looked pleased and proud on stage as he addressed the crowd. He said he had every confidence that the electorate would vote resoundingly for the PNM.
The Prime Minister also spoke of the number of women in the party’s line-up, saying that Trinidad and Tobago could demonstrate to every country in the world the fullest participation of women in the nation. He said the PNM’s screening committee was not the political leader “and two or three of his friends” but a fixed number of party officials, in accordance with the party’s constitution.
He said he was satisfied that the party had put forward the best 139 candidates, most of whom were young people.
He thanked the campaign manager, deputy political leader Rohan Sinanan and his team, the party’s PRO team, the candidates, party members, supporters and all those who were part of the party’s campaign effort.
“You all have done a wonderful job in organising this campaign,” he said.
Get ready for the dawn tomorrow
But he stressed that the job was not going to be done, until tomorrow when “you take those last few steps, you spend those last few hours and bring the voters to the polling stations”.
“That is when all your good work would bear fruit,” he said. He said after “all the fun and frolic” of yesterday, PNM voters should “get ready for the dawn on Monday”.
“Get to the polling station early, since the rainy season is still with us. The weather could change by midday and there could be heavy showers in the afternoon. Get the voting done in the morning and even if it rains in the afternoon, get the rest of the voters out in the afternoon,” he urged.
“We are the big tent in this country in which every creed and race finds an equal place. Everyone is welcome as long as you are prepared to be a patriot and a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago...and you are prepared to support what is good and what is right...Today when I see so many young people in this rally, I know that the future of this party and our country is in good hands...As you get the work done on Monday we are going to say, from Sangre Grande to Carenage, from Port of Spain to San Fernando, from Cedros to Icacos, from Mayaro to Cunupia, from Matelot to Barataria, great is the PNM and it shall prevail,” he said to thunderous applause.