T&T Elections: Persad Bissessar disappointed at absence of int’l observers

T&T Opposition Leader Kamla Persaud Bissessar (File photo by Sean Drakes/LatinContent via Getty Images)

(CMC) — Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar cast her vote in the general election here today, expressing disappointment that international election observers were not able to be present to monitor the polls.

“It is very unfortunate that we did not have international observers but I call upon all our nationals to be national observers and I think it is working well so far,” said Persad Bissessar, who is leading the main opposition United National Congress (UNC) into the election.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley had said that invitations had been sent to the Commonwealth and the 15-member Caribbean Community (Caricom) to send observers but that they would have had to arrive here in time to undergo the 14-day quarantine period.

He said that the regional and international observers had indicated that the venture would be too expensive and that his administration had decided against providing assistance for fear of it being regarded as trying to influence the observers in their duties.

Persad Bissessar, the first woman to serve as head of a government here, said that her party’s machinery had been working well and was confident of reversing the 2015 defeat her People’s Partnership administration suffered at the hands of the Rowley-led People’s National Movement (PNM).

“I spent the whole morning making it happen and it looks good,’ she told reporters, saying that she had been informed that voting is moving ahead smoothly.

“In fact, my feedback is that the voter turnout is very good across the country. However, in some stations they are saying very slow. Earlier today the feedback I was getting is that the turnout is very high and some people were turning back because of long lines. I just urge everyone to…cast your vote,” said Persad Bissessar, who has been the parliamentary representative for southern town of Siparia since 1995.