Kamla, Rowley, agree to election debate

Chief executive officer of the T&T Debates Commission Catherine Kumar says the leaders’ debate for the 2015 general election is intended to assist the estimated 33 per cent of the electorate who are unsure about for whom they would vote.

She said that in a brief interview with reporters following yesterday’s workshop hosted by the commission, the T&T Publishers and Broadcasters Association at the US Embassy, Public Relations Department, Sweet Briar Road, Port-of-Spain.

She said while such debates were new to T&T “as you can see from the latest poll, we still have significant amounts of undecided voters and I think it would help them to make that critical decision, tipping it in one way or the other.”

No date has as yet been announced for the election but it is due no later than September 17. Parliament would dissolve by June 17.

Kumar in giving a status report on the proposed debate, said the commission was trying to meet with the leaders of the PNM and the People’s Partnership to agree on the rules. She said Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley already have confirmed their participation.

The qualification criteria for leaders are expected to be revealed at a news conference hosted by the commission today.

Kumar said because the election date was not known “we really have to be in a state of readiness,” adding that venues were being looked at, including the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port-of-Spain.

She told the workshop former CNC3 news anchor Shelly Dass, now at the OAS, was being considered as a possible moderator.

Another journalist being considered is former Express reporter, Davan Maharaj. He is now the editor and executive vice-president at the Los Angeles Times.


Courtesy Guadian

2015 leaders’ debate… Only PP, PNM leaders qualify

Two political party leaders have raised concerns over being excluded from the upcoming national leaders’ debates to be hosted by the T&T Debates Commission (TTDC).

Political leaders of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP), Jack Warner, and the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) David Abdullah yesterday claimed debates featuring only the People’s National Movement (PNM) and the People’s Partnership (PP) would be unfair to the public.

Yesterday, the TTDC formally launched the leaders’ debates at the Chamber of Commerce building, Westmorrings.

Chairman of the TTDC, Andrew Sabga said criteria for the debates only allowed PNM political leader Dr Keith Rowley and PP leader Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissesar to take part as they were the only two political leaders to qualify under the commission’s criteria.

He said: “The debates will allow for the leaders of any party or alliance of parties.

“The party or alliance must demonstrate the potential to form the next government by nominating candidates for at least 50 per cent or minimum 21 seats,” Sabga said.

Alternatively, the party or alliance of parties may also enter the debates if it had an approval rating of 12.5 per cent or more in two nationally recognised polls, he added.

Source: The Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.