July 2015 \ Diaspora News \ Diaspora in Trinidad and Tobago
T&T general elections

General elections will be held on September 7 in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, home to a huge ethnic Indian population, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said. Ms Persad-Bissessar, who is of Indian origin, made the announcement at the final sitting of the 41-member House of Representatives on June 12.

On May 24, 2010, Ms Persad-Bissessar became the first Hindu woman to sit on the prime minister’s chair of this Caribbean nation. During the announcement, she advised the president to dissolve parliament at midnight of June 17. Ms Persad-Bissessar formed the People’s Partnership coalition Government with her United National Congress (UNC), the Congress of the People (COP), the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ), the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) and the Tobago Organisation of People (TOP).

Several social issues, infrastructural matters and political matters are projected to be aired on the political platforms during the 87-day campaign for the September 7 elections, the 10th in the country. For several weeks now, the opposition People’s National Movement (PNM), led by Mr Keith Rowley, has been campaigning prior to announcement by the Prime Minister.

This is the first time that a large number of opinion polls have been done with television and radio stations also caught in the process. The latest opinion poll shows the People’s Partnership coalition getting 21 seats and the PNM 20 seats or vice versa. Elections in this twin-island republic are based on the ethnic composition of the one million plus voters. All persons 18 years and over are eligible to vote. This country has a population of 44 per cent of East Indian extraction whose forefathers were sourced from India between 1845 and 1917 to work on the agricultural plantations of the then British colony of Trinidad and Tobago. Observers contend that the elections this year will be tough. Trinidad and Tobago, like India, is a member of the Commonwealth.

Paras Ramoutar