For immediate release:
To Media /Assignment Editors
The Trinidad & Tobago Debates Commission (TTDC) wishes to announce that the two scheduled debates will be held on August 20 and August 27, 2015. This is consistent with the criteria for participation noted in our rules and guidelines, shared with all and allows the TTDC to identify all the entities who qualify to participate in the debates after the announcement of Nomination Day which falls on August 17th, 2015. The debates will be a live broadcast, made for television, expected to attract an unprecedented local and international audience through the extensive use of new and traditional media.
The TTDC is a voluntary body, which has over the last six years successfully arranged debates ahead of the 2010 & 2013 Local Government Elections and for the 2013 Tobago House of Assembly Elections.
The TTDC is a fully independent and autonomous organization set up with the objective of strengthening the democratic process by staging debates on matters of national importance to assist the electorate in making informed political choices. Integral to this objective is the enrolling of the electorate, especially undecided voters, to make choices from a more informed perspective. The Commission aims to do so by giving voters the opportunity to hear from all our political leaders in a structured debate setting, their responses to issues drawn from the wider public and which the people of Trinidad and Tobago deem to be of relevance and importance.
The TTDC would like to state that it has held 9 meetings over the course of the last 2 months ahead of our decision. We have listened to all the views put forward and we continue to act with integrity, with transparency and with fairness by engaging equitably with all parties. We are confident that all eligible entities would benefit from the unique platform, which the debates afford party leaders through this unique and broad media outreach.
The TTDC would also like to address concerns raised over the last week about an announcement and subsequent withdrawal of a July 30 date for “The Great Debate”. For the record, the TTDC did try to accommodate a request by the People’s Partnership (PP) representative, to hold an exclusive debate between the Leader of the People’s Partnership, Prime Minister, the Honourable Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the Leader of the People’s National Movement (PNM), Dr. The Honourable Keith Rowley. However, despite our efforts to find an acceptable middle ground between both parties, the TTDC has been unable to deliver a solution that is workable.
As a result of this impasse, we reverted to our original rules, which included criteria for participation, which is the fairest way and in the public’s interest and does not give any party an advantage.
The TTDC considers that the addition of debates to our political culture will only enhance our democratic process and we look forward to this becoming an enduring addition to our general election campaigning process.
The debates will be available via multiple media platforms. Leading up to the debates on August 20th and August 27th, the TTDC will be providing more details on the logistics and viewing options for these signal events.
Please continue to join the discussion and share your views on our Facebook page and website www.ttdc.org.tt.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO DEBATES COMMISSION