Trinidad – Not ready
Newest coalition party pulls out election race
PORT OF SPAIN –– There was simply not enough time.
After putting on election gloves and declaring that the Third Force Movement (TFM) would contest the September 7 general election, its founder Timothy Hamel-Smith, yesterday pulled out, saying there was simply not enough time.
The Senate president was very vocal on July 3 when the TFM was launched, promising to bring change that was never delivered to citizens and declaring that the TFM would bring an end to tribal politics. He said the aim of the TFM was to represent and reach out to the 140,000 undecided voters.
Hamel-Smith, a week ago, was making the rounds on television and radio stations trumpeting the policies of the TFM —implementation of the procurement legislation, campaign finance reform and constitutional change.
Just last week he told the Express that the TFM was registered with the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) and would be contesting seats.
Under the umbrella of the TFM was the Alliance of Independents (AOI), the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) and Diego Martin North West Independent candidate Phillip Edward Alexander.
Days after its launch, the TFM held a public meeting in Maraval on July 8 and a motorcade from Diego Martin to Tunapuna on Sunday.
When the question was asked as to whether there was enough time for the TFM to get itself together for the September 7 election, the response from most of the TFM members was always affirmative.
However, in a release yesterday, Hamel-Smith cited insufficient time as the driving force to pulling out of the election race.
The statement indicated that Hamel-Smith felt that “the time frame was too tight to establish the institutional framework for a fully fledged political party” in order to contest the election.
Hamel-Smith noted with “pride” that the TFM had made enormous strides with large crowds of enthusiastic supporters joining them at their rallies and had rattled the political establishment despite the very short time frame since its launch on July 3.
He expressed regret to the many supporters who had shown their allegiance to TFM, as a real hope for change.
“But,” he said, “it is better for TFM to prepare itself on a more sound structural footing now, so as not to disappoint its followers in the future.”
Hamel-Smith stated this was not the end of the TFM.
According to the release, former CLICO chairman Gerald Yetming, a member of the TFM leadership council, endorsed Hamel-Smith’s actions and noted that the driving ambition of TFM to influence change in the present way of governance remained unchanged.
“The desire to effect change, the desire to drive for more honest, transparent and principled governance, no matter which party is in power, remains,” he said.
“We will now simply regroup to identify which channels of action can best be activated to continue to influence how our country is governed,” stated Yetming.
The release stated that the TFM would not contest the election, but that did not preclude any of the groups or individuals associated with it from contesting the election in their individual party names.
The TFM meeting carded for the Croisee in San Juan yesterday evening was cancelled.
The release stated the TFM was created with the intent of making a real difference to the politics of the country; one based upon principled governance.