Opinion piece by Dr. Kumar Mahabir.      

These are my comments in the wake of the defeat of the Opposition United National Congress (UNC), led by Ms. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, in the August 10th general election in Trinidad and Tobago.

The UNC lost to the People’s National Movement (PNM) led by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley. The PNM won 22 seats and UNC got 19.

The 68-year old Persad-Bissessar should step down as the UNC’s political leader ASAP, making way for her younger likely successor, Attorney Anita Haynes, to lead the party into the 2025 general election. But Persad-Bissessar must not be hounded, bullied, and kicked out of office by na-mak-ha-ram [ungrateful] people whom she had appointed as State Board Directors, Publicists, Ambassadors, Senators, and Ministers when she was Prime Minister (2010-2015).

There is a strong suspicion that the August 10th election was rigged. This doubt could have been avoided if Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley had facilitated the arrival of foreign observers to the country. Mistrust was also reinforced by the promotion and retention of Ms. Fern Narcis-Scope as the Chief Election Officer (CEO) of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC).

In the Opposition, UNC’s election petition against the EBC, Justice Dean Armorer ruled: “Accordingly, it is my view and I hold that the extension of the poll on the 7th September 2015 was illegal, and election officers who failed to close the poll at 6 p.m. acted in breach of Section 27(1) of the Election Rules.”

Fern Narcis-Scope was the EBC’s Senior Legal Adviser in 2015.