There were victory speeches and angry finger pointing up and down Trinidad last night as five political parties assessed the figures from yesterday’s Local General Elections and decided that either their team had won or the voters were the real losers.
PNM political leader Keith Rowley had most to be pleased about as the opposition took control of eight from 14 corporations, which was five more than it held prior to the elections. Remarkably, the PNM also has one hand on former People’s Partnership stronghold, Chaguanas—where it tied the UNC with three seats each while the ILP took two—and grabbed a seat in every corporation save Penal/Debe.
“We have won this election, we are on the way to winning the general election,” said Rowley, “the Prime Minister should call the general election now, having lost her mandate.”
But in the yellow corner, AG Anand Ramlogan cooed that the People’s Partnership had succeeded too.
“We put up on the moat (and) it was successful,” said Ramlogan.
The UNC saw five of its 11 corporations disappear into the horizon while a sixth could still follow. Ramlogan’s understanding of moats seems as bad as he claimed his grasp of criminal law to be after the Section 34 fiasco.
The beaming Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar declared the elections to be a people’s victory, which is an odd thing to say when most of the people were waving their fingers at her party; and those were not voting fingers either.
Still, she remains the Prime Minister and the PP has another 18 months to find a way back in the public’s bosom before the general elections. Expect generous servings of rum, roti and box drains.
ILP boss Jack Warner said his party, which won only two from eight seats in Chaguanas and nothing anywhere else, has now usurped the COP as the third best political party in the country.
Arguably, third place in a country designed for two parties is about as useful as being the second slowest runner in your school. Neither of you are likely to ever make the track team.
That left COP and MSJ as the most overwhelming failures at the polls. Not in their own minds though.
MSJ leader David Abdullah and his COP counterpart Prakash Ramadah both argued that the voters were the real losers.
Abdullah said Trinidad and Tobago had gone back to old politics without explaining exactly when the country had sampled this mythical “new politics.”
Ramadhar said his own party faltered because it was too dignified to partake in the jokes and cussing of present-day politics. But then he cracked an obscene joke himself when he claimed that the ILP lured away COP voters.
“Looking at the votes between the COP and the ILP (Independent Liberal Party), if they are tabulated, it would have put the COP on top,” said Ramadhar.
It was a leap away from the EBC’s sober data that arguably eclipsed even the Prime Minister’s “poll vault.”
Firstly, if the COP lost voters en masse to Warner, they cannot be the pristine bunch that Ramadhar claimed.
And, more to the point, what would Abdullah sound like if he said the MSJ would have won if only it got the PNM’s voters?
He might be correct in one sense. But, mostly, he would be an idiot for saying the equivalent of: “I would have been alive if I hadn’t died.”
Yet there is something about elections that brings out the idiot in the best of us.
Next on the agenda is the St Joseph by-elections, which would be accompanied by the hoopla about saving our country from either the scums who are holding it or the ones who want to take it over.
Since 2010, Trinidad and Tobago has had more elections than carnivals; it suggests a whole new meaning for the term “poll-arised.”
Mr Live Wire wonders why elections are said to reflect the voice of the people and yet, despite being on the brink of a sixth election in three years, politicians rarely ask for our opinion unless we were starving ourselves to death outside their office.
Do you have as much faith in the ballot box improving your life as you do in the office’s suggestion box bettering your working conditions?
I always preferred to knock on the boss’ door instead.
Editor’s Note: Contrary to early media reports about a low voter turn-out, a record 43 percent of the electorate voted at the 2013 Local Government Elections.