PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has called on the administration of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley to immediately announce the date for local government elections following the landmark judgement that was handed down by the UK based Privy Council on Thursday.
According to Persad-Bissessar, the ruling is a “red-letter day” in the political history of the twin island republic.
She said it is also a historic victory for the 54 nations of the Commonwealth governed by rule of law and representative democracy as it will now set a legal precedent.
The opposition leader also called on the people of Trinidad and Tobago to exercise their right to vote.
“To the public we say we have fought to give you the right to vote. Use it wisely to send a clear message to the Rowley PNM that enough is enough. We say to our citizens, Do not tote – vote! Vote against the oppression and tyranny so that the darkness and depression engendered by the Rowley PNM (People’s National Movement) can be dispelled,” said the opposition leader who also noted the emphasis the law lords placed on the importance of the people’s right to vote.
The UK based Privy Council ruled that the move by the Dr. Keith Rowley led administration to extend the term of local government representatives by a year, is unlawful.
In the ruling, the law lords upheld an appeal over the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the move brought by political activist Ravi Balgobin Maharaj.
In a majority decision, three law lords led by UK Supreme Court President Lord Robert Reed ruled that High Court Judge Jacqueline Wilson and the Court of Appeal got it wrong when they dismissed Maharaj’s case.
Two law lords agreed with the local courts and provided a dissenting judgment – this means that the government must call local government elections.