|Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar with Muslim leaders|
She made the announcement in Parliament Thursday morning, noting that she decided on that date following extensive consultations with representatives of all the major islamic groups in the country and in keeping with her promise to always hold elections when they are due.
Some Muslims had expressed concern about the election being held during the Holy month of Ramadan. Her discussions with Muslim leaders focused on that. They assured her that they had no objections to having the election during Ramdan, which officially ends on either the 8th or 9th of August, depending on the sighting of the moon. However some of them noted that the last 10 days of Ramadan are particularly auspicious and not suitable for an election.
Persad-Bissessar said she took all that into consideration before arriving on a date. Since a minimum of 35 days notice is required and elections in Trinidad and Tobago are traditionally held on Mondays there were only three dates available - July 22, July 22 and August 05. The August date would have fallen within the holiest period of Ramadan.
The Chaguanas West by-election came about with the resignation of the UNC MP for the constituency, Jack Warner. He took that decision within days of resigning as a member of the cabinet and as chairman of the UNC.
Warner has submitted his nomination papers for selection by his party and has said he has the support of all 31 constituency groups within Chaguanas West.
The UNC has not yet announced who will be the candidate for the election. The political leader has said all members of the party are free to submit their names and the party would follow its normal screening process in selecting the candidate.
In the 2010 general election Warner won more than 18,000 votes - the highest for any candidate in an election. His PNM challenger won just over 1300 votes. So far no other party has announced a candidate for the election.
Warner has said said he is optimistic that he would be the candidate for his party. He has been campaigning since he resigned and it is likely that if he does not get the nomination he would run as an independent.
If that happens he would be at odds with his party and could face disciplinary action, including expulsion for running against a candidate of his his party in an election.
The EBC confirmed to JYOTI that it is ready for the election. About 27,000 people are eligible to vote, about two thousand more than in 2010. Registration closed last week. Ballots would be printed after nomination day, which is usually three weeks before the day of the election.