Leader of the Opposition Kamla Persad-Bissessar is calling on Prime Minister Patrick Manning to reconsider his refusal to take part in a debate. Persad-Bissessar said yesterday it was "most unfortunate" Manning refused to engage in a pre-election debate. Responding to Manning saying he would have nothing to gain by taking part in the debate, Persad-Bissessar said he should not be focused on his gains but those of the national community.
She said the debate was an "ideal opportunity to assist the public to make informed choices," in the May 24 general election. Persad-Bissessar said a one-on-one debate would have provided the national community with a clear understanding as to where each party stood on the issues. She hoped Manning would reconsider to let the people hear what their leaders had to say. Persad-Bissessar said all gains would be for the electorate and that should be the Prime Minister's priority.
On Tuesday the Chamber of Industry and Commerce launched the T&T Debates Commission with plans to hold a televised leader-to-leader debate on May 18. During a walkaround in Tarodale Heights, Cocoyea, on Tuesday, Manning responded to questions about the debate by saying he had no intention of taking part. Manning said: "It is unlikely that I will participate in any such debate, very unlikely." He added the PNM preferred community walkarounds to connect with the electorate and he had nothing to gain by going into debate with Persad-Bissessar.