Five years of loses must come to an end. Arima has lost so much under the PNM administration with MP Anthony Garcia and Mayor Lisa Morris-Julien. It’s a shame. In the daylight cleanliness of the streets has gone, the rats scurry down drains as evening nears. The Warden/Inland Revenue office has gone. The WASA sub-office and the borough corporation office have been moved from the heart of Arima.

Social Development has been regulated to a nook in the office of TTConnect “upstairs Pennywise”. The efficiency and quick handling of birth certificates has gone at Legal Affairs. Now it’s hours on end of waiting and then “come back” tomorrow. The ease of movement in and out of Arima has gone. Now, heavy lines of traffic snake through the main arteries of the town, happy to get out.

And the night-time. Except for one or two bars, the gambling dens and street vendors, there is no night-life. No artistic productions. No night games or sports for the young and young-at-heart with energy to burn. People racing home after work look left and right for muggers and bandits. These will strike even near the police station on Broadway or the park by the Santa Rosa RC Church two minutes heading north.

The sound of a pan is heard only on Borough Day and Carnival—if at all. Outside the town-centre, in Calvary and Mt Pleasant, sporadic gunshots make us wonder what Garcia has doing to secure the constituency. Even Central (Arima Secondary School), the pride of Arima when it comes to education in the district, is gasping to stay relevant with incomplete construction works and an ageing plant that the Member of Parliament who is also the Minister of Education has shown no sense of urgency in rescuing.

During the day and night, residents wait for days and sometimes weeks for “water to come”. This is happening right now in a place whose name in the Amerindian language means “water”. With no new plans for employment generation, businesses are scraping by. The flower shop on Lopez Street has closed down.

Arima cannot afford another five years of the malaise, neglect and slow death.

Flora Singh, the candidate going up against the PNM’s Beckles, has brought a breath of fresh air to the borough and has raised the hopes of Arimians. She is passionate, honest, a nose-to-the-ground worker and a woman with a big heart. She has worked tirelessly with the underprivileged—cleaning the destitute, sharing meals and clothing, praying ceaselessly for a better life and for her people.

As a councillor from 2010 to 2013, Ms Singh spear-headed the Arima Queen competition that became a look-forward-to event. It was a boost to local talent and creativity. The widening of the river at the Beckles Lane came though her persistence and concern for the residents. Sports and culture found life under her stewardship.

As the neglect of Arima is doomed to continue by the choice of Penny for the PNM, the chance to put a tough, genuine worker in the MP’s seat has been offered once more and should be grabbed by both hands. Her election to office will happen with votes from both sides—for Arima comes first for the real patriots of this eastern town.

Ms Singh has ignited a fire by her acceptance of the candidacy. It is now up to the level-headed decision of the 20,000-plus voters on election day to choose her as the next member of parliament.

Her election will save all of us from the jaws of continued neglect; it will save us from the parched dryness seen in our taps, seen in the lack of idea, lack of vision and poor service from the elected office-holders. The town should not be losing more flower shops.

On August 10, by voting this gifted lady, we will see Arima’s flora bloom again.

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