A great deal of fuss is being made by the Opposition concerning the issue of election observers for the August 10 general election. They seem to think that the presence of observers will ensure that the election is free and fair. But observers do no such thing.

Observer missions are small, usually between ten to 20. Even with 20, visiting 2,200-odd polling stations is impossible. And only a few minutes can be spent at each one.

Is there any sane politician who thinks that an observer mission can oversee the operations on poll day better than his/her own election agents who spend the entire day (and part of the night) observing the conduct of the polls?

Don’t they trust their own agents to ensure everything is above-board?

What can a few random foreign observers do that your 2,200 hand-picked agents can’t?

While it’s nice to have external observers pronounce on the conduct of our election, it really is not necessary. And with the advent of Covid-19, the cost of a mission escalates significantly. Remember, you have to house, feed and provide medical services for the observers for an additional two weeks.

Yes, it would be nice to have observers but it’s not a disaster if they cannot come. Anyone who says otherwise is simply making excuses up-front in case they lose.

A Charles

via e-mail


Louis D Brandeis was a well known Justice of the US Supreme Court. In 1913, three years before his appointment, while an outspoken advocate for financial and government transparency as a means of curbing corruption, he wrote a piece in Harper’s Weekly magazine in support of the regulation of banks. In it he made the statement: “Sunlight is the best disinfectant”.

It bears repeating that every poll is a snapshot of opinion at a particular moment in time. In the case of pre-election polling, much can change between a poll and election day due to game-changing events or strategy changes by the political interests involved.

I am deeply disturbed the Commonwealth Observer Mission will not be here. Whilst we have a tradition of free and fair elections, there is no guarantee it will continue. We must remain vigilant, especially since it is very difficult to trust this Prime Minister and leading ministers.

Eight days from today, Kamla Persad-Bissessar expects to be named Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago after she leads the United National Congress to victory in the general election.

In 1955 when I was growing up in Tacarigua, Michael Kangalee, who lived in a nearby village of El Dorado, was one of my best friends.

We attended Tacarigua AC School and were members of the St Mary’s Anglican Church. As soon as the People’s National Movement (PNM) and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) came into being we were forced to take sides. I supported the PNM and Michael supported the DLP.

LAST week there were two apparently disconnected stories whose link we may not have discerned, but which profoundly affects our future.

The first was the Express (Monday July 27) report on the alleged $549M EMBD bid-rigging case which noted, “…some of the same contractors donated financially toward the current government…”.