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Trinidadians elect new government

Trinidadians elect new government

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“We do not govern for ourselves, but we are servants of the people of Trinidad and Tobago!”

These were the jubilant words of Dr Keith Rowley, leader of the People’s National Movement (PNM), as he claimed victory in Trinidad and Tobago’s general elections{{more}} — bringing an end to the reign of the outgoing Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

According to Trinidad media, Rowley’s PNM won 23 of the 41 constituency seats yesterday, September 7; the outgoing ruling party — the People’s Partnership (PP) won 18.

“I feel very satisfied,” exclaimed an exuberant Dr Rowley, as he spoke to members of the Trinidadian media from his party’s headquarters at Balisier House.

“Don’t sell the PNM short — we will rise to the occasion when we have to!”

In the run-up to the elections, Rowley had predicted that the PNM would win more than 21 constituencies. This was rightly reflected after votes were tallied up at the various polling stations — which stayed open an extra hour due to inclement weather.

Newly elected Rowley also acknowledged that the country’s economic situation is “difficult” at present, but pointed out that this has been the situation in times gone by and it was rectified. Therefore, he is confident that under the PNM’s leadership, Trinidad and Tobago can rise up once again.

Rowley also addressed the UNC: “Tonight your party has tasted defeat,” but added that the PNM is familiar with the taste of that brew. He assured the UNC though, “We are all in this together,” as he promised to govern for all.

Outgoing Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, although having lost the general election, managed to retain her constituency, and is still the MP for Siparia.

UNC won the popular vote by 2 per cent, but the electoral system of Trinidad and Tobago does not give her any power for that.

Persad-Bissessar gave a concession speech, wishing Rowley well and saying she has no regrets.

Persad-Bissessar was the first female prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago — having assumed the office after Trinidad and Tobago’s previous elections in May 2010. She is also the political leader of the United National Congress, which is part of the coalition of three parties which formed the People’s Partnership.

Meanwhile, Jack Warner, though not a major contender, also gave a concession speech acknowledging the PNM’s victory. (JSV)

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