After studying and working abroad for some years, I returned home to Trinidad and Tobago in 2006 and I quickly became interested in the politics of the time. I felt that the COP represented my interests and I threw my support behind them. I sincerely believed they stood a strong chance to make a difference in the politics of this country. You could imagine my disappointment on the night of November 5 2007 when the results was announced. In the first past the post system, a party that had popular support and had garnered 23% of the votes cast had not won a single seat. Without a seat in the parliament, the COP entered a period of political irrelevance. There is no doubt, without the coalition of 2010, the COP could have survived a further five years if the previous parliament had run its full term. It is very difficult for a political entity to be relevant without representation in parliament.
Now if we had this run off system in place in 2007, the COP would have entered a run off election in the Tabaquite and St. Augustine seats against the UNC. I cannot say for sure they would have won either, but given the dynamics of the time they might have been successful. We may have had a completely different political experience if the run off system had been in place. The Opposition is hypothesizing thagt this system would kill off third parties. Well my good citizens, I wasn’t there in 1981, but I can certainly speak for 2007 and I beg to differ. I believe this would give hope to the survival of third parties and I thank the government for having the temerity and gumption for bringing this measure to parliament.