Trinidad and Tobago to hold general election

Trinidad and Tobago (TT) will today elect all 41 members to its House of Representatives, after President Paula-Mae Weekes dissolved

577627 01 05

Photo: Reuters

Trinidad and Tobago (TT) will today elect all 41 members to its House of Representatives, after President Paula-Mae Weekes dissolved the nation’s parliament on July 3.

Since the last general election in 2015, TT has been led by the centre-left People’s National Movement (PNM), headed by Prime Minister Keith Rowley. While July polling indicates that the PNM’s support has declined since 2015, the party still maintains a 5-6% lead on main opposition party United National Congress (UNC), which won the popular vote in TT’s local elections last year.

Despite a narrower lead, approval rates for Rowley and the PNM have actually increased since March. TT instituted a national lockdown on March 30 and immediately shut all national borders, curbing the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus between islands. Due to a resurgence in cases—over two dozen in August after 31 in July—Rowley re-implemented several social distancing restrictions, including the reduction of the acceptable crowd size from 25 to 10 people; this has damaged the UNC’s ability to win over undecided voters, who could make up nearly one-fifth of the electorate.

Despite criticism regarding the unusual absence of international observance this year, the PNM will likely remain in power. Expect Rowley to focus on attracting foreign investment and financial incentives to TT’s natural gas and agriculture industries, two of the largest components of the domestic economy.

Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.