Home / Live Wire / We’re just not that into you! Live Wire looks at 2016 local gov’t election results

We’re just not that into you! Live Wire looks at 2016 local gov’t election results

The Trinidad and Tobago electorate, both major political parties agreed, sent a clear message to its politicians at the Local Government Elections yesterday. And that statement was: “Meh.”

November 28 was pretty nondescript, even for a Monday. There was no band launching or Soca Warriors match; nothing new from House of Cards or Game of Thrones; and MovieTowne’s feature film was starring Nicholas Cage. Even Donald Trump’s Twitter account was dormant!

In short, local voters had a choice between exercising their civic duty to pick one from two out-of-touch political parties; or do absolutely nothing. And the result was a voter turnout estimated at roughly 34 percent, which is the lowest in 37 years.

Photo: Whoop whoop! (Copyright Baltimore Rising)
Photo: Whoop whoop!
(Copyright Baltimore Rising)

Even Kenwyne Jones’ local fan club probably registered more activity yesterday!

Look no further than either political party’s response to the election results to understand the cause of the apathy.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley: “We in the PNM are very, very pleased with the results.”

Works Minister and deputy political leader, Rohan Sinanan: “Clearly, we got the popular vote.”

Popular as compared to what? A prostate exam?

Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar: “[It was] a victory for the people.”

Sure it was. Just like those emails that say I just won the lotto in Nigeria and only need to pass on my bank details to collect the winnings.

Or maybe. And this is just a theory. Maybe we’re just not that into you. Both of you!

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (right) and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC. (Copyright Stabroek News)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (right) and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC.
(Copyright Stabroek News)

We’re fed up of listening to explanations about invoices for roti and wedding parties. Or why it’s okay to give your boyfriend a government house or rude to take away illegally awarded land from millionaires.

And why we should be wary of the crooked contractors supping with one party but not the other. And, most of all, how it is our fault that the country is falling apart and we really shouldn’t expect more from salaried politicians beyond snickering, mamaguying or barking at us from time to time.

So what happens from here on?

Britain and the US showed how diminished faith in the political system can open the door for demagogues to climb to power. If you’re not going to do anything for us anyway, seemed to be the thinking, you might as well be entertaining.

No wonder Minister Two Pull is mulling over a comeback.

Mr Live Wire is fairly certain that if Anya Ayoung-Chee had put one of her knittings on the ballot paper, she could have won at least one district.

Photo: Former Project Runway winner, Trinidad and Tobago beauty pageant representative, model, designer... and home movie star, Anya Ayoung-Chee.
Photo: Former Project Runway winner, Trinidad and Tobago beauty pageant representative, model, designer… and home movie star, Anya Ayoung-Chee.

At least we know what Anya can do—by which, of course, we mean sew.

What the hell is Fitzgerald Hinds or Suruj Rambachan good for?


Editor’s Note: This column initially suggested that the voter turnout was roughly 23 percent, which is the lowest in 40 years. In fact, the official EBC report showed that the turnout stood at 34 percent, which is just the lowest in 37 years.

About Mr. Live Wire

Mr. Live Wire
Mr. Live Wire is an avid news reader who translates media reports for persons who can handle the truth. And satire. Unlike Jack Nicholson, he rarely yells.

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  1. The perception is that the government controls local government so why go out and vote. Also the electorate clearly did not have a message to send since if they did, they would come out. Maybe messages and bigger turnouts are in the second LGE after a new party takes over.

    • Judy Ann – political scientists look very closely at non-appearance at the polls. People did send a message. The fact that less people voted this than voted since 1983 is significant. That cannot be ignored – 66% of the people did not vote.

    • What was the message? That KPB lost another election? That PNM made inroads in the UNC areas? That they couldn’t care less? That people continue to vote for ‘their party’ no matter what? None of the above?

  2. See what I mean…. position successful defended!!!!

  3. Lol. I’m not interested in “average range”. You can’t owe me $25 and give me $22 and say that it is the average range.
    The facts of the figures say it was less.

  4. But I guess 1 or 2 % make for a successful defence of a position so carry on smartly

  5. Notice I said “within average range”…… LGE turnout has always been in the 30s

  6. Nicole Ulerie, Keston posted a graph of local government election results since the 1960s. And there was a lower turnout in this one than at any time since 1983.
    I don’t understand what is left to debate about that.

  7. I’m at a loss as to how LGE 2016 34% which, except for 2013 LGE 44%, is within the average range for every other LGE we’ve ever had signifies something different to any other LGE……..

  8. Hayden Anthony Alexander, I wrote that it was the lowest turnout since Trinidad and Tobago became a republic in 1976. That was based on media reports on the turn out at the time.
    Now the EBC results show that it was the lowest turnout since 1983.
    I don’t need a new story for that. Just a note to show the error.
    There is no change otherwise. The point still stands as far as I’m concerned. And that is the turnout was remarkably low and politicians ought to be concerned.
    I wrote, based on media info, that it was the lowest in 40 years. Turns out it was the lowest in 33 years.
    So I concede these seven years that the article was off by–based on what was preliminary info at the time. But the population is still quite obviously not very interested in either party.

    • Thanks Lasana Liburd, I don’t understand why this simple truth isn’t clear to more. People voted with their feet – they simply didn’t show up. This is not a good sign for a healthy democracy.

    • Lasana, I don’t see how you can base that on a single data point. 34% is low compared to general elections but it is within the range of LGE turn out. So is it that in 2013? When the turnout was 43%, that persons were interested in both parties ? What’s the threshold to determine interest in parties? And in 2015, the turnout was above 50%, so is that they were interested in 2015 and all other general elections and not interested now? Is it that elections between general elections there is lower interest? That’s the kind of analysis one would expect from political analysts and journalists.

    • Hayden Anthony Alexander, Keston K. Perry posted a graph with voter turnouts over the years. And it is the lowest since 1983. That’s fact.
      I’m not comparing local elections with general elections. I’m comparing it with other local elections. So why mention that?
      If more people turned out in 2013, do you think that indicated more interest in either party? Or less?
      I don’t think you have to be a political reporter to take a stab at answering that one.
      And I’m not a political reporter btw.

    • Lasana Liburd yiu are not a political reporter but you are a thinking man!

  9. After is is all said and done and the facts have been presented and we see some corporations with as much as a 49% turnout everybody quiet now….interesting

    • What are the facts ? We cannot in a properly functioning democracy be happy with 66% of the electorate staying home. Some may be silent – I’m not ! It ain’t good !

    • Ummmmm. How does anyone’s happiness change what the facts are?!.sigh

    • Nicole Ulerie what facts? So replace happy with satisfied . Maybe you didn’t read my statement properly. We cannot be satisfied/happy/content/pleased/and any other synonym- that the vast majority of eligible voters stayed home . I don’t care about Party here – I care about TT. People voted with their feet – how can we miss understand such simple truths ?

    • Fact- something that actually exist, truth, reality. Now that we’ve established what an actual fact is; how does your missive relate to what I’ve said initially Brian? Or you just feeling to exercise your fingers?!

    • Nicole Ulerie the fact is that NATIONALLY 64% of the voting population stayed home. It is irrelevant that in some corporations 49% came out. Both figures are frighteningly low. Don’t insults because I can and will come right back and it will not be pleasant. If there is a difference in view stay on topic but when yiu want to demean I will have little patience.

    • Hahaha. I made the statement..
      You chose to be irrelevant on said statement and telling me stay on topic?! ???? Wired clearly have an in-house mental illness section. ???????

  10. The majority of the media-supporting public do not care for real facts, apologies or retractions…. apparently, therefore the media are serving to their customers exactly what they want. So glad I stopped buying newspapers ages ago. 23 is a poor figure…. as an estimate – when the real one turns out to be 34. Is 34 an average turnout? The descriptive stats would seem to suggest this however any good statistician (not that there are any who appear to be interested in the LGE ….thus lending credence to the article’s main focus) knows you do not make conclusions from descriptive stats. So… the answer is still up in the air re whether turnout was in fact low or just average. Anyone care to crunch a statistically significant deduction out of the LGE data?

  11. Hear nah, it does have more people looking for Beach House tickets than it had people who vote. Is better fete promoters run for office yes!

  12. So there was low turnout. Why should we have expected anything else? There was no JW factor to create a little excitement or rampant government corruption to cause people to get up and do something. LGE will only become important when the control over everything in a region is the local council’s and not the government’s. Then people will realise that what they get is what they vote for. This won’t happen until the changes are made, the councils are funded like the THA, whether through property tax and/or otherwise and they have full control to be corrupt (or not) to provide all services with no additional funds. If they don’t then the people will vote them out. I’ll give it 10 years or so.

  13. Lasana Liburd everybody getting into the partisan feelings… It was still a relatively low turnout – according to the historical data, lowest since 1983. So let’s have a discussion about why the majority of people are still not motivated to vote. Just 3 years ago, 43% of the electorate voted.

    • Official EBC results says it was 34.4%…see the Express story 3 comments above

    • Mel Lissa I just commented the results from 1968 (see below) – this year’s the lowest since 1983.

    • What is partisan about facts? His article referenced a 23% voter turn out which was incorrect. 34% is average voter turn out for LGE. So several journalists and commentators who used the incorrect figure and made assumptions based on that now have to revisit their “findings”.

    • Well I’ve posted figures below…. from 1968. 3 years ago it was 10% more… it’s the lowest since 1983… median turnout is around 39%…voting population has been increasing steadily….so not sure whether this “average” means it’s respectable or something else…and if that should placate commentators… or avert them from suggesting that people may nevertheless be very disaffected by the political process and the political class.

    • Wrong information cannot be made right. Don’t matter how any spins it, the population was misled into thinking the voter turnout was the lowest ever. And that was wrong. The lowest turnout was 25% and the highest was 44%. Therefore 34% is an average between these two extremes. So I’m saying for the sake of journalistic principle, some kind of retraction and apology should be placed in all newspapers and be made on radio stations and social media where the incorrect figure was used. That’s all.

    • Hayden Anthony Alexander that you will not get….’the media’ will spin…deflect…and sidestep…..watch how the conversation already changing to ‘dUNCe’ win the popular vote……look im just soooooooo fedup with our so call journalist…. media both print and TV always attack the PNM in or out of Government!!!!

    • Keston please explain what you just said in simple and plain language to Nicole ulerie

  14. So Lasana, will you write a new article now based on the actual facts provided by the EBC?

  15. Just imagine that one party is claiming – “we got the popular vote “. Remember 77% didn’t vote so it’s a very spurious statement. They don’t realize people voted with their feet.

  16. People wouldn’t trust a new third party because…. why? Trying to grasp the logic

  17. Honestly, the EBC needs to get cracking on this. Granted Local Elections do not have a big turnout and the weather was bad in the East. But..not even 20% of the population?

  18. It’s very interesting to see the spin our media houses taking now that elections are over and laying the blame for the way issues were presented to voters and chastising politicians for basically talking about none issues like Roti.
    These same people milk the trash talk daily to sell papers or get views so they’re no less guilty than the politicians.
    Our Media Houses is FAILURE

  19. Just remember that our politicians came from within the citizenry. Take note of how our sporting organizations, religious organizations, NGO’s etc are run. This is the best that we can do. Those persons who think they are better just playing Napoleon from Animal Farm.

  20. Just goes to show the voters’ confidence in the political parties .. low turn out ..

  21. I could relate to this. But we the citizens of the country have to educate ourselves so that these politicians cannot fool us. Once we know the underlying factors with regards to the economic situations both local and international,true governance will begin bcuz they wouldn’t be able to fool us with their lies and deceptions.

  22. The sooner that both the government and the opposition realise that we the population have no confidence in either of them and that they need to start working with each other and the rest of us the sooner we will get Trinidad and Tobago back on track.if these local election results dont tell both Rowley and Persad-Bissesaser that they need to get their heads out of their respective asses I dont know what will. And if that’s the case Trinidad in big f**ing trouble.

  23. I hope we can consider that we NEED to “be into them” as much as we can to the point where they become uncomfortable.

    • I don’t think we did to be honest. We just didn’t skirt anything. But this column can be risky. I know it will sail close to trouble at times. Maybe too close ever so often. There is never malicious intent though.

  24. That result means that largely pnm and swing voters stayed home cuz they reasonably comfortable/complacent with allowing pnm time to govern. The UNC vote shows that it’s base, as usual, doesn’t shift cuz they are mindless tribal sycophants. If I’m not mistaken the pnm got approx 70,000 less votes than in 2013 but the UNC numbers stayed basically the same.

  25. Tribalism reigns but as former POS MAYOR Louis Lee Sing said last night..”whether we are Indians, Africans, Syrians, Chinese, as Trinidadians we will get it ultimately right”..

  26. They understand how fickle their suppoŕt is as compared to the UNC. So they happy they won.

  27. I can’t for the life of me understand what the hell they’re celebrating. The voter turnout was very poor so how can you claim victory when you came away with.less votes that you had the last election

  28. Vernal, I know you were discussing manifestos for this election.
    Did the ruling party’s manifesto read: Get money? And the opposition party’s manifesto read: Get power?

  29. Well said . They are really as popular as a prostrate exam by DR Fatfinger . Lol !

  30. Was the political process of the 1930s done to give us what we wanted? Or to placate the masses? No trick remains hidden forever.

  31. I always draw on history as it reveals a great deal. The riots in the 1930s were because of deteriorating social conditions that created the political process we had today and the move to self determination. What we’re seeing is a manifestation of the economic concerns of citizens no doubt reflecting in their level of political participation. Perhaps it’s evolving further. You are right to say that people have always felt alienated to a certain extent but this is the lowest voter turnout in any election since independence and we need to understand what is peculiar about the present moment.

  32. I think the relationship between the political elite and the public is off and has always been. But we are becoming more cognisant of the fact now.
    It like the “Emperor has no clothes”. The financial problem just add to the existing tension.

  33. the systems have all broken down. they were all flawed to begin with.

    • They haven’t broken down then. Just been exposed as grossly inadequate.

    • this is a properly functioning system? With less than 20% of the franchise participating in the process? why?
      It had rain dah morning orwah?

    • I’m not saying it is a properly functioning system Dennis. I’m going further and saying it never was that. So it isn’t that it is broken down. It was never meant to serve the people. Not even from day one.

    • The system eh perfect but you got to make it work for u. Eat the meat throw out the bone.

      I made some enemies at Mona when I told persons that I was glad my ancestors slave ship dock in POS and not Kingston.

    • Lasana when I went to Mona in 89 was basically unemployed for a yr. I did NTB long time OJT for 4 months. We were paid $20 a day back then.

      All my aunts came together to send me as my mom had stop working and was getting an Invalidity Grant of $78 a week.

      So I came from little but when I landed in JA to do social work no less I knew our tail was happy in Tdad.

      Imagine after my 1st year come home for vacation and Bakr had coup.

      Well now if I use to cuss I would have cuss because as I said our tail real happy here.

      TnT is a failed state I have accepted that but within this fail state you can make it.

      I did it from Pashley St Laventille to Irving St Petit Bourg to a HDC house in Couva.

      In JA that would be the exception in TnT it can be d norm once you use what is avialable.

  34. You think it is austerity measures here that is causing friction? I don’t think that helps. But I don’t feel that’s the core issue.

  35. The last time the world saw these shifts was in the 1920s, and then we had the Great Depression and 1930s saw the oil riots – Butler et al.

  36. I won’t put it down to ‘leadership’ per se but we do have a global political crisis that is linked to economic developments as well. Don’t feel the austerity measures over the past 15 months ain’t affecting how people see the political establishment.

  37. I know and I agree we should strive to be different.

  38. I specifically mentioned that it isn’t unique to us though. But that in itself is no excuse for our politicians.

  39. They just elected Trump so you maybe correct. However, we behave like the problem is unique to us.

    There is a global crisis in leadership.

  40. I bet if there was a new party , the new one would have won. These are stale parties now and fresh ideas and policies are needed to revamp the government.

  41. When enough people lose faith in the democratic process, they will eventually try to find another solution. God knows how that will work out. But let Colm keep snickering…

  42. The world not into their politicians but until better can be done let the worse continue.