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Drastic move to shift Mayaro to PNM

Published: 
Sunday, August 30, 2015
Basdeo:
These avid fishing enthusiasts patiently wait for their catch after casting their lines at Manzanilla beach last week. PHOTOS: ANDRE ALEXANDER

Mayaro, considered one of the most prized constituencies with its gorgeous natural beauty, became the focus of controversy last week with the sudden resignation of MP Winston “Gypsy” Peters.

Peters, who served the constituency for over 15 years, publicly resigned from the seat, the Cabinet and the United National Congress (UNC) as he knocked Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for rejecting him as the candidate.

However, constituents believe that Peters’s negative comments will only strengthen their resolve to support the People’s Partnership.

Seetaram Lalchan, 63, of Bucket Corner, Naparima/Mayaro Road, Rio Claro, said the PP has performed, and he will be giving the party his support.

He dismissed Peters’s claims that he was undermined by Persad-Bissessar and starved of funds for Mayaro. 

“We get roads, we get box drains, lights and streetlights. I thank God for that, and I think what we seeing is the benefits in we area. Hearing is not believing, seeing is believing, and I am proud and glad to see we are getting help,” Lalchan said.

Basdeo—Mayaro remains PP safe seat

Although the Mayaro seat experienced an upheaval last week, political analyst Dr Maukesh Basdeo believes the seat will remain with the People’s Partnership come September 7.

In fact, he said, only a drastic move can shift support in Mayaro to give the People’s National Movement candidate Clarence Rambharath the edge to take the seat.

“The UNC won the seat comfortably by 5,500 votes (in 2010) and for that seat to actually swing away from the UNC within the next week or so, it would be very amazing. Something would have to happen that would result in such a swing from 5,500 votes,” he said. 

He said the civility being displayed by Persad-Bissessar, wishing Peters the best, is helping Paray’s chances.

While Basdeo said the best measure of Peters’s resignation would be the results on September 7, he believes the events of last week would not significantly impact the PP. 

“I am not seeing that it is going to have that great impact. I am not saying it will not have an impact, it will have an impact. But to reverse the trend from the UNC winning this seat at this point in time it is highly unlikely,” he said.

Basdeo said that in 2007 Mayaro may have been a marginal given that less than 500 votes separated candidates, but in 2010, UNC had a clear majority.

However, now, Mayaro “is a safe seat,” he said. “ It cannot be considered a marginal.”

Constituents—We were 

neglected

Mayaro constituents were unforgiving of their former MP, lamenting that many areas were neglected, while infrastructure was allowed to deteriorate.

For pensioner Samdai Sooknanan, 81, of Clear Water Road, Rio Claro, the biggest problem in Mayaro is poor road conditions.

The road where she lives, she said, is deplorable and no one seems to care.

“The road no good and when you hear the vehicles go in there, they could kill one of them children in there,” Sooknanan said.

Her neighbour, Precious Baptiste agreed.

Baptiste, 28, said reckless drivers do not care that the Rio Claro Secondary School is on the street.

“We are still waiting for the speed bumps,” she added. 

Baptiste also said there was poor drainage and lots of mosquitoes in the area.

While Sooknanan said she had faith in Paray, she also said she hoped he “does not do like Gypsy.”

“They (constituents) will throw him out like Gypsy. They does be good from the beginning and when you put them in there, them does better themselves not you,” she said.

Anjanie Chotai, 55, of Bristol Village, said she believes her area has been forgotten.

“The only time you see them (politicians) is election time when they come and want to shake your hand and hug up your children, but they not dealing with ‘we’ issues,” she lamented.

Flooding remains a challenge for Hazel Annmarie Singh, 41, of Mafeking Village.

Peters “did a lot,” she said, but the flooding problem still exists.

Arnold Mano, 35, of Clear Water Village, said job opportunities are limited, but he is not too worried since his candidate will win.

“Mr Paray have no chance up here whatsoever. Clarence done take this area,” Mano declared.

Winifred Francois, 63, of Manzanilla, who was busily cleaning coconut branches at the side of Manzanilla Road to make brooms to sell, said she was not sure who to give her vote. 

“I do not know who to vote for. I want to vote, but I want to know who really going to help me. It is only a set of talk and talk and promises,” she lamented.

Paray—Mayaro will stay with PP

UNC Mayaro candidate Rushton Paray is confident Peters’s sudden exit from the party will not hurt his chances at victory.

“What I know of the Prime Minister, she is a fair and equitable person. Winston is free to make whatever choice he wants to make, but that does not affect me or my campaign in any way,” Paray suggested.

He said he has been getting “excellent” feedback on the ground.

While Paray said Rambharath’s head start in the campaign could be a challenge, he has a strong campaign team. “I am confident that we will win at the polls,” he added.

Rambharath—I am confident, I have worked hard

PNM candidate Clarence Rambharath is confident his 13 months of campaigning in Mayaro will pay off on September 7.

Rambharath said he has been getting a “very good” response in Mayaro, especially with the young people and the people who do not traditionally support the PNM.

“At this stage, I could call it good response, good vibes. People are talking about change in those areas where people are very familiar with me, especially the Rio Claro area where I was born. There is a lot of interest and a lot of support,” Rambharath said. 

Rambharath also launched a “More 4 Mayaro” manifesto which outlines his EAST (Energy, Agriculture, Services and Tourism) plan for the constituency. 

MORE INFO

​About Mayaro

Mayaro is bordered by five constituencies; Tabaquite, Princes Town, Moruga/Tableland, Cumuto/Manzanilla and La Horquetta/Talparo. The current electorate stands at 27, 940. 

How they voted

2010

Winston “Gypsy” Peters (UNC/PP) 12, 846 (votes)

Clifford Campbell (PNM) 7, 330 (votes)

2007

Winston “Gypsy” Peters (UNC/PP) 8, 613 (votes)

Michelle Mischier-Boyd (PNM) 8137 (votes)

Rabindra Moonan (COP) 1, 939 (votes)

2002

Franklin Khan (PNM) 11, 000 (votes)

Winston Peters (UNC) 10, 696 (votes)

2001 

Winston “Gypsy” Peters (UNC) 10, 252 (votes)

Franklin Khan (PNM) 9, 433 (votes)

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