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Opposition Wins Trinidad's Local Government Elections, but Everybody Celebrates

Update [October 25, 7:00 p.m.] regarding the “low voter turnout” referred to in this post: The Elections and Boundaries Commission has since released official figures which prove that contrary to what was first reported, the voter turnout level was actually the complete opposite – the highest ever for a Local Government Election.

The results are in for Trinidad's local government elections. The opposition People's National Movement won with an eight seat majority. The United National Congress (the Prime Minister‘s party, which is a member of the ruling People's Partnership coalition) secured five seats and the other two contenders, Jack Warner's Independent Liberal Party and the Congress of the People (also part of the coalition government) failed to get elected to a single regional corporation. Chaguanas, the borough that saw a major upset in a recent by-election, is still hung.

On Facebook, many of the netizens who were quoted in yesterday's post saw their predictions come true. For Rhoda Bharath, it was easy to explain the PNM's win:

For an entire month, the PNM delivered speeches on personal responsibility and reform of the LG Corporations.
UNC ILP and COP voters were busy dressing up goats and attacking women and bussing mark.

To come this morning and say PNM won because of tribal voting and split votes is to say that the Party didn't offer a superior message on its platform.

Compare Rowley ‘s campaign with Kamla, Prakash and Jack’ s and get back to me.

It was nowhere as depraved or mindless.

Still, several media personalities and political commentators were describing yesterday's voting as “tribal”. Bharath responded:

Here is what baffles…

Less than 70% of the population voted.

PNM and UNC have equal number of seats in Chaguanas and PNM polled more votes.

In Siparia and Penal/Debe, alleged UNC heartland, the PNM won seats….

So, where the Tribal conclusion coming from?

Enough people vote to even determine that the country vote tribe?

To prove her point that she voted based on issues and not race, Bharath also sent a message to Keith Rowley, the current Leader of the Opposition:

Good Morning to Opposition Leader.
I want to take this opportunity to say congratulations.

I also wish to say the work now start.
8 Corps, means a large mandate.
We expect to see the words of the campaign trail convert into action.

And, as is my custom, if you doing crap, I will be offering constructive criticism.

We Believed.
Now you must deliver!

Victory aside, some Facebook users defended their right to not vote. Franz Gillezeau posted:

Reasons people I know voted yesterday:
1) Their friend was running.
2) They felt like they had to.
3) They voted against a party, not for a party.

None of them voted because they thought that particular individual or party could do them any good.
To me, that is a waste of time.

I will not vote just because my friend is running. I will not vote just because people in other countries do not have the right. I will not vote to spite a party.
I WILL vote when I have someone to vote for whom I believe will do my area or my country good.

AND, despite my not voting, I will CONTINUE to have an opinion and will continue to express it freely and who vex, loss.

Ian Ramjohn had a different take on the elections results, which spoke to the low voter turnout:

Looks like people did what they said they would – stay home. ‘Not voting’ clearly won the local government elections in Trinidad, with the PNM a distant second. Even in the famous no-vote campaign of 1972 the PNM still picked up 27% (or so) of the registered electorate. In this election they picked up what – 11 or 12%? Clearly none of the parties should be celebrating anything.

The outcome certainly didn't stop the other parties from celebrating; the Prime Minister covered all her bases by saying that with the proportional representation model, “everyone will win”. Of the battle for Chaguanas, where UNC party loyalists were concerned that the ILP would split the vote, the Prime Minister maintained that her party did not lose. Even Jack Warner was claiming some measure of victory – on his official Facebook page, he posted:

#JackWarner @ ILP headquarters (election night): based on the results tonight the ILP is the 3rd political force in this country and for a party that is not even 4 months old, this is a reason to celebrate.

Not all netizens anticipated festivities, however. Vernon O'Reilly Ramesar posted late last night:

That was a long night. I guess all analyst eyes will be on the COP tomorrow.

They certainly were, with some suggesting that the Local Government Elections were the death knell for the party. There was even this meme circulating on Facebook:

Meme about the COP's performance in Local Government Elections, created by Hayden Margerum

Meme about the COP's performance in Local Government Elections, created by Hayden Margerum

Kathryn Stollmeyer-Wight, a former COP member, had this to say:

500 million spent on the elections.
Lets not endorse this vulgar display of noise & ugly behavior again.
Hear what, from now on, let every dollar given to a political party's election campaign be matched by the same amount given to charity.

And Jack, who says ‘My love knows no boundaries’ I suggest you file tax returns, pay taxes & vat, (you would also have to register all your companies) & show this love by obeying our laws.

And Manning, ride out. ‘When I have finished this term of office…’
You have finished, thanks, but no thanks. You gave 30 million of our $ to the church in Guanapo, give us a break now.

COP time to ‘Turn the negative into a positive’ your leader said. Well its a huge amount of negative you dealing with. ZERO seats.
No thanks for going along with tale of Resmi Ramnarine, Section 34, Jack's Firetruck that you believed was worth 56 million etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc.
We thought you were there to work, not to fall prey.

Rowley, you are back. Learn from the past mistakes, don't get lost in Cleaver Woods again.
Congratulations PNM, try try try to keep it clean & to be clean.

And then to the UNC. You planassed on every platform, on every corner & from every truck. The level of your campaigning was in direct contrast to the level of the Canadian bank accounts etc we know exist. Hide behind the garish stain glass windows & tone down the travel. You will be riding out soon anyway.

And Ian? Robin? Om? Volney has a new business, why not ask him for a work? Birds of a feather an’ all that. You could all talk @ the same time, though no one will listen.

And this my FB friends, is indeed, my last political post.

The thumbnail image used in this post is by faberzeus.tirage-art, used under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license. Visit faberzeus.tirage-art's flickr photostream.

All Facebook status updates quoted in this post have been used with permission.

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