After more than two weeks of deadlock and controversy, the United National Congress (UNC) yesterday triumphed, taking full control of the Chaguanas Borough Corporation.
This was achieved with the help of Independent Liberal Party (ILP) councillor Faaiq Mohammed, who broke the deadlock and voted for all of the UNC’s proposed candidates.
UNC alderman Gopaul Boodhan was elected mayor and UNC councillor Debideen Manick was elected deputy mayor.
The UNC also has control of four committees that were appointed yesterday, one of which Mohammed heads.
Surprisingly, Mohammed was nominated by his former ILP colleagues Indra Maharaj and Falisha Isahak, but they did not vote for him. They instead opted not to vote at all, leaving their ballot papers blank.
The last council meeting on Wednesday ended in drama, as Mohammed voted with the UNC and rejected his own ILP to have a presiding officer elected. He has since been expelled from the party.
All eyes were on Mohammed yesterday as he walked into the meeting room of the Chaguanas Borough Corporation, smartly dressed in a grey suit, with black shirt and blue tie.
He took his seat among his former ILP colleagues, between Maharaj and ILP councillor Simeon Mahabir. ILP interim leader Jack Warner and ILP chairman Robin Montano sat directly behind him.
Presiding officer Vandana Mohit convened the meeting saying she was legally advised the motion to suspend the standing orders was null and void, and at the meeting called to elect the mayor and deputy mayor, under the law, no other business could be conducted.
At the last meeting, the ILP and People’s National Movement (PNM) had called for the standing orders to be suspended, demanding voting for the mayorship take place by show of hands—a move resisted by the UNC, which insisted it be done by way of secret ballot.
The voting was conducted yesterday by secret ballot. But, with the UNC having four members; the PNM, four members; the ILP, now three members, and expelled ILP member councillor Mohammed voting with the UNC, it was evident the fifth vote came from Mohammed to give the UNC control of the corporation.
Boodhan received five votes, PNM councillor Ronald Heera received four votes, Maharaj received two votes, and one ballot was rejected as Mahabir’s name was placed on it but he was not a nominee for mayor.
During the voting, Mohammed sat composed and, at times, chuckled to himself.
For the election of deputy mayor, UNC alderman Debideen Manick and PNM alderman Aben Phillip were proposed.
Manick was elected with five votes, while Phillips received four votes.
The ILP did not vote and submitted blank ballots.
After the mayor and deputy mayor took their oath of office, Boodhan presided over the proceedings and said the election of people to various committees would be done next week.
Heera immediately objected, and both members of the PNM and ILP insisted the election take place then and there…READ MORE