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Nagessar gets legal advice on deadlock D-day in Chaguanas
All eyes will be on the 12 men and women elected as councillors and aldermen today as they gather at the Chaguanas Borough Corporation from 11 am to elect a new mayor and deputy mayor. The introduction of proportional representation into the recent local government elections, without provision in the event of a tie, has placed the borough in a three-way deadlock between the ruling People’s Partnership (PP), People’s National Movement (PNM) and the Independent Liberal Party (ILP).
Both the United National Congress (UNC), which fought the eight electoral seats in the borough for the PP, and the PNM won three seats each, while the ILP won two seats. Under the proportional representation arrangement, the UNC and PNM were allocated one alderman each, while the ILP, by virtue of the number of votes polled in the election, was allocated two aldermen, making it a four, four, four tie. Because of this situation, the election of a mayor is at a virtual standstill.
Yesterday, outgoing Chaguanas Mayor Orlando Nagessar said the Ministry of Local Government, under whose umbrella the borough falls, has been given legal advice which will be tested later today. “The ministry has been advised to appoint a presiding officer with two votes. One, to vote for the candidate offered by the party of his/her choice, and the second, a casting vote to break a tie.”
However, Nagessar explained that would not be as easy an exercise as it seemed. He said: “Electing a presiding officer is another hurdle. If each party nominates someone for this position, I don’t know what will happen. Someone will have to jump the railing and vote with another party. “Rumours are flying left, right, centre, middle and bottom of insider-trading, buying and selling, lobbying, all sorts of things in the selection of a mayor and deputy mayor; but I can’t prove anything.
“All I know is there is a three-way tie and for that tie to break, someone from inside one party has to cross and vote with another of the two parties or we will remain deadlocked.” He said he has heard on the electronic media that ILP interim leader Jack Warner had expressed confidence Chaguanas would have an ILP mayor today.
Nagessar, who has served the borough for 15 years with two terms as a mayor, said: “I will be there (today) and when the mayor is elected, I will make my departure speech and pass the chain and demit office. “I will not be riding off into the sunset, but I will be going into a brighter life, free from frustration, stress, play a little with my grandchildren and of course, ride Caribbean Airlines a little bit.”
Nagessar said his legacy was leaving the electoral district of Felicity which he was given to contest for by his political guru, former prime minister Basdeo Panday, once more in the hands of the UNC. PNM PRO Farris Al Rawi said yesterday they would not wait around as the ILP and UNC wrestled for power. He said all the other corporations where the PNM has the majority have already hit the ground running and it was time for Chaguanas to get down to work.
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