Oropouche MP Dr Roodal Moonilal is shown a watercourse
by officials of the Ministry of Works, Drainage Division and the Penal/Debe
Regional Corporation during a tour of flood prone areas in his constituency
Photo: Sookdeo Baney
By Gail Alexander
The ruling PNM is targeting four seats in central Trinidad to break
the UNC stronghold for the July 14 local government elections, PNMs
Central co-ordinator Satish Ramroop has declared.
But the UNC is promising a tough fight for the PNM.
The NAR, too, plans to contest some seats in the 14 corporation districts,
possibly linking with another party.
However, Team Unity and Citizens Alliance are out of the race.
Plans by the various parties began heating up this week after Prime
Minister Patrick Manning announced July 14 as the local government elections
date. He did so in an historic address to the Senate on Tuesday.
Some 126 seats in 14 corporation districts are up for grabs.
The EBC recently added two seats in the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo area
and in the Tunapuna/Piarco district. The last local government polls
were held in 1999.
The PNM currently holds seven corporations in the East West Corridor
and South, while the Opposition controls seven others in South and Central.
Ramroop, a senator and former Caroni general election candidate,
yesterday said his party is aiming to take UNC strongholds in Edinburgh,
Longdenville, Enterprise south and Montrose.
These areas in the central corporation district are my special
mission. We lost in those seats by margins of 120- 200 votes in the
last poll and figures show that we have increased margins in those places
in the 2002 general election, he said.
Ramroop spearheads PNMs new central regional office, set up
three weeks ago in Chaguanas, the partys first in this constituency.
He has also been leading walkabouts with candidates which began two
weeks ago and participated in functions in central Trinidad which Prime
Minister Patrick Manning attended over the Indian Arrival Day weekend.
The PNM is hoping for a low voter turnout which will be in the partys
Although screening is complete, Ramroop said the party still has
to tie up loose ends and appoint candidates in a few areas
in central Trinidad, northern Port-of-Spain and Belmont West.
The PNMs central executive which met last night was due to
Northern Port-of-Spain incumbent Alvin Narine yesterday expressed
concern at the length of time it is taking to finalise the situation.
He said the executive of his area has written the PNMs screening
team confirming their support for him. Narine is said to be out of favour
with the partys hierarchy.
In Belmont West where incumbent Murchison Brown has stepped down,
nominee Mickey Greaves (formerly Belmont East councillor) is also to
be confirmed. Sources said the executive is split over his nomination.
On the Opposition front, the UNCs election co-ordinator Chandresh
Sharma (Fyzabad MP) dismissed the PNMs view that it will sweep
Yes, theyll capture a few seats with the big money theyve
been spending in various areas, but the larger community wont
vote for them, said Sharma.
He objected to the PNMs wooing of UNC supporters, and claimed
the PNMs California/Point Lisas candidate Rhonda Bartholomew-John
had been the secretary to Chaguanas Mayor Orlando Nagessar, until
she was promised a job at the port and recruited by the PNM.
We have a few surprises of our own, he hinted, however.
He added the party plans to increase the schedule of weekly Monday
On reports that some of the smaller parties such as the NAR have
been seeking to hitch up with the UNC for the campaign, Sharma said:
We speak to a lot of people but were not exploring that
kind of thing now.
NAR leader Lennox Sankersingh said: Well be contesting
in all areas, but not all of the 128 seats. But theres a distinct
possibility well be contesting with another party.
TU foundation member Trevor Sudama said the party has no plan to
Were addressing the concern of various groups through
legal channels and also mobilising. After the election, the results
will give us an indication how to proceed further.
The phone number for CAs head office and cellphone numbers
for executive members were out of service.
Former CA deputy leader Binda Maharaj said yesterday hed resigned
from the party in January and was observing politics now.