PORT OF SPAIN – An election-weary Trinidad and Tobago will face its fourth election this year, unprecedented in the country’s political history.
A by-election is now certain in the marginal seat of St. Joseph. The deadline for the holding of this election is December 23 – two days before Christmas.
This fourth election has come about with the announcement that Herbert Volney has given notice that he would vacate the St. Joseph seat with effect from Monday.
It would be a critical election for all parties – the ruling People’s Partnership coalition, People’s National Movement and Independent Liberal Party.
The PNM made a clean sweep in the Tobago House of Assembly elections in January, while ILP interim leader Jack Warner registered an historic victory in Chaguanas West in July.
Still to come are the local government elections, scheduled for October 21; and the St. Joseph by-election, whose date the Prime Minister would have to determine.
Yesterday, Volney, who initially said he planned to fight to keep his seat, told the Express he decided to “let the politicians fight it in the court of public opinion”.
In a release issued on the letterhead of his constituency office, Volney said senior counsel had advised him he had a strong “justiciable” case against House Speaker Wade Mark to “challenge and upset his ruling”.
However, he said, he decided not to contest Mark’s ruling for several reasons, “including the cost of litigation, the perpetuation of State-sponsored political ridicule and harassment by supporters of the Government, and the absence of access to the appellate jurisdiction of the Privy Council or the Caribbean Court of Justice”.
The release was signed by Mark Dolsingh, manager of the St. Joseph constituency office.
House Speaker Mark had made a declaration invoking the Crossing of the Floor Provisions of the Constitution on September 9 (budget day), on the basis that Volney had resigned from the United National Congress, on whose ticket he fought the 2010 gene