“Wrong choice of candidate.”
That, according to Sangre Grande stalwart Terry Rondon, is what cost the People’s National Movement (PNM) the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation, which it had held since 2013 but lost on Monday in the 2019 local government election.
The PNM lost the Sangre Grande South-West seat.
“The people just did not vote for the candidate, but they are still PNM,” he said, adding: “Toco/Sangre Grande is still PNM territory.”
Responding to questions, Rondon, who is the outgoing chairman of the corporation, said Sangre Grande was by no means “a lost cause”.
He said he was a bit surprised by the loss of the corporation because a lot of work had been done, especially by the corporation.
“I think the cause of the loss was the wrong choice of candidate. We have to be very, very careful. This is a wake-up call for the party when we are choosing candidates. We must make sure that we go into the community and find someone whom the village holds the greatest respect for.
“When they come to Balisier House and face questions from the screening committee, and they win an election and they retire on the job and they don’t service the district, when the time comes to seek a new mandate again, the people have already made their mind up (not to support them) and this is what happened,” he said.
“The people were waiting for this time to come to illustrate their non-support of the candidate,” he said.
“I hope that my party takes heed,” said Rondon, who is a grassroots leader.
“Go out and get community leaders; let your selection be the community. They send that person and they would have the best reason why (they chose that community-oriented person).
Rondon said the Sangre Grande executive has to begin to do the groundwork to “correct what went wrong there” because the party has to retain the Sangre Grande seat in the next general election.
Petrotrin impact insignificant
Energy Minister Franklin Khan was asked yesterday whether the Petrotrin closure affected the PNM’s performance in South, particularly the San Fernando City Corporation.
Khan said the Petrotrin decision would have had some level of fall-out, but the party did not believe it played a significant role in the outcome of the local government election.
“It did have an impact in some of the southern areas, but it was not a significant impact. It was more about the voting patterns in the country. The area that was impacted the most by the Petrotrin restructuring was the county St Patrick, and we held on to all our seats in the Siparia corporation, which are Brighton/Vessigny, Palo Seco and Erin.
“We just lost Fyzabad slightly, but Fyzabad was always a very marginal seat. And we held on to Point Fortin, so the voting patterns in the country have not changed fundamentally, and that is the reality of Trinidad and Tobago politics,” he said.