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Follow established convention,

Panday tells President

December 13, 2000

Your Excellency,

Permit me most respectfully to refer to the established practice of a meeting on Thursdays between the President and the Prime Minister in fulfilment of the spirit of the provisions of s.81 of the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago.

General elections, as you are aware, were held in Trinidad and Tobago on Monday 11th December, 2000. The Returning Officers for the thirty-six (36) constituencies have publicly declared the results of the polls in respect of all the constituencies. They have announced that the candidates of the United National Congress, of which I am the leader, have secured the most votes in a majority of the constituencies and were thereby elected as the member of Parliament for their electoral districts. This notwithstanding, you have not as yet called upon me as such leader to form a new government.

I have taken the liberty of consulting at least one former Head of State concerning the convention which has developed in Trinidad and Tobago with respect to the duty of the Head of State following a general election.

I have been advised that all of your predecessors have acted within 48 hours on the basis of public declarations by Returning Officers as “the candidate for whom most votes have been given to be elected as the member for the electoral district”. These public declarations are made in pursuance of Election Rules made under the Representation of the People Act. I sincerely trust that by this you have been made aware, as I have been, of the several declarations of the Returning Officers so that you may act in accordance with established convention.

In the circumstances of the above, it would not be appropriate for me to attend on you tomorrow Thursday 14th December, 2000, expect for the very urgent purpose connected with your duty to reappoint the Prime Minister under Section 76 of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, or for any other urgent matter pertaining to the peace and security of the State which calls for a meeting between us.

Basdeo Panday MP
Prime Minister

President to Panday: Dec 14, 2000

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