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PNM moves cautiously

Decembber 15, 2000
Trini News

Former PNM senator, Danny Montano, said yesterday that, according to the Representation of the People Act, before the PNM can file its petitions, seven days must elapse after the party gets the results from the constituencies of Ortoire/Mayaro and Pointe-a-Pierre from the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC). He said the party received these results on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This means, he said, the party will file the petitions on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, December 19 and 20.
Montano, leader of the PNM team set up to liaise with the party's attorneys, told reporters of the process at Balisier House, yesterday. He was accompanied by two other members of the team, Jerry Narace and John Donaldson.

On Tuesday, the same three men at another press conference had said the party would file the representation petitions that said day. However, after three days, no petitions were filed. The media conference was called yesterday to explain the delay.

Montano also said yesterday the PNM candidates for the two constituencies, Franklyn Khan and Farad Khan, have been receiving "warnings from certain quarters". He did not elaborate, but said they had made no report to the police.
He appealed to citizens to remain calm and patient as the court matter is determined.

Montano said the PNM's legal team was being led by Allan Alexander SC and comprised Frank Solomon SC, Reginald Armour, Douglas Mendes, John Jeremy, Michael Quamina and Maxine Williams. The PNM is claiming Peters and Chaitan made false declarations on their nomination papers when they said they held no allegiance to any other country. The men later admitted they held dual citizenship.

Asked if he did not think the PNM was seeking to form the government by default by asking the court to name its two candidates instead of the UNC two as the winners for Ortoire/Mayaro and Pointe-a-Pierre, Montano said no, because their candidates were the only two legitimate candidates in those two constituencies. He said as far as the PNM saw it, they had 18 seats, the UNC, 17, and the NAR, one.

This means our judges will be called upon to decide whether the UNC majority in the House of Representatives would stay or would be reversed.

A victory in the courts for the petitioners would be at odds with the decision of many people on Monday. But this is a nation of laws under the guidance of the Constitution. Mr Panday might well have to do like Vice-President Gore and accept an unfavourable verdict even if he disagrees with it.

What happens after that is a matter for speculation. The country may find itself having to vote almost immediately in a second general election that might be as inconclusive as this one, leading Trinidad and Tobago into a prolonged period of constitutional ferment.

PNM’s letter to President Arthur NR Robinson: Dec 13, 2000
President can await court rulingDec 13, 2000

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