Trinidad Express / “A nonsensical legal interpretation.” That is how Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday described the position presented by PNM chairman Franklin Khan, in respect of the PNM’s claim to victory and control of the Sangre Grande Corporation. But UNC Senator Gerald Ramdeen, responding to this, warned that any manoeuvre or attempt by the PNM to take control of the Sangre Grande Corporation, that was not grounded in law, will be opposed by the UNC. “And if we have to go to court to stop any such attempt we will do so forthwith,” Ramdeen said yesterday. He also stated there was no way the PNM could claim it won the popular vote in Sangre Grande if two recounts were taking place. The UNC has lodged recounts for Sangre Grande North East and Sangre Grande North West. “There is no provision in the legislation that allows what they (the PNM) have said the position will be,” he said. He said as the figures stand, after the allocation of aldermen there will be a deadlock of six/six in Sangre Grande and the legislation did not provide how this deadlock is to be sorted out. “So any attempt to say that the person who currently holds the chairmanship will remain the chairman and they will continue to control the corporation because they previously controlled the corporation is not supported in law,” he said. False and misleading says Kamla The Opposition Leader’s statement yesterday noted “with disbelief the false and deliberately misleading claims today by PNM chairman Franklin Khan that his party has ‘declared victory’ in the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation”. She said Khan’s “arrogant and incredible claims” were based on a “nonsensical legal interpretation about selection of a chairman, viz, incumbency of the PNM’s (Sangre Grande) chairman, the ‘popular vote’ and ‘spirit of the law’”. “This is patently false and demonstrates wilful ignorance and arrogance on the part of the Rowley PNM,” Persad-Bissessar stated. “The law makes clear provision for the manner in which a chairman of a corporation is to be elected and it is not for Franklin Khan or Stuart Young or any minister to try to change the law by press conference. “Any pre-empting of such demonstrates a shameful attempt by the PNM to mitigate its embarrassing showing in (Monday’s) local government polls where the UNC gained at least one-and-a-half corporations and the PNM lost over 70,000 votes from the 2013 local government elections. The population has expressed dissatisfaction with the Rowley administration and no amount of PNM spin can change that fact,” Persad-Bissessar stated. “The fact is that the PNM has significantly lost votes, support and traction in its year-long reign in Trinidad and Tobago due to its elitist, arrogant, incompetent and oppressive attitude and measures, and its overall lack of any proper policy to serve the interests of the people of Trinidad and Tobago, a fact keenly reflected in (Monday’s) election process and results,” she said. What happened in Chaguanas in 2013 In the Chaguanas Corporation, the election result was three PNM, three UNC and two ILP. However, when the total votes for each party were tabulated, the allocation of aldermen was one PNM, one UNC and two ILP. This brought the corporation into a four-four-four deadlock. At that time legal sources in the then-attorney general’s office suggested that then-mayor Orlando Nagessar, an alderman, could have remained mayor of Chaguanas for a long time “for a day, a year or three years” and that the deadlock “would not incapacitate the council because the law already makes provision for the continuity in office of the mayor”. But this principle was never applied because after just two weeks of controversy, the deadlock was broken when ILP councillor Faaiq Mohammed shifted allegiance to the UNC, giving it control of the corporation.


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