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Tuesday 17 September 2019
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Maraj: Marlene arrest could hurt PNM

In this September 3, 2015 file photo Marlene McDonald campaigns as the PNM candidate for Port-of-Spain South during a meeting in St James.
In this September 3, 2015 file photo Marlene McDonald campaigns as the PNM candidate for Port-of-Spain South during a meeting in St James.

THE ARREST of Public Administration Minister Marlene McDonald could negatively affect the PNM in the marginal seats in next year's general election, said political commentator Ralph Maraj.

He was speaking to Newsday on the arrest of McDonald and her husband Michael Carew on Thursday on allegations of corruption.

"It is a significant development because for the first time in our history a sitting Cabinet minister has been arrested for an offence of this nature. It is unfortunate for Ms McDonald but it is a good development for TT because so far people in high office have been allowed to get away with obvious misdemeanours and various kinds of offences."

He said as the country approaches elections the strong, traditional PNM constituencies will continue to vote PNM. Maraj has been a member of the PNM and UNC parties.

"But in the five or six marginals (Moruga/Tableland, St Joseph, Mayaro, Pointe-a-Pierre, Barataria/San Juan, Tunapuna) where general elections are determined a development like this could have an impact."

Maraj said in these marginals there are floating voters who are more discriminating and discerning.

"In a closely-fought election, which is what we expect as the parties seem to be of equal electoral strength, this development (of McDonald's arrest) could have an impact."

He said this was especially so as the Government has not been performing very well in the economy or dealing with social or administrative problems.

"I think there is significant disenchantment with the performance of the Government."

Maraj said there were other issues hanging over the Government including: the "crookedness" with the seabridge, the Super Fast Galicia and the Cabo Star; a former minister (Darryl Smith) being accused of sexual harassment and report on the issue not yet revealed; the Camp Cumuto "mystery" involving children of the Attorney General posing with rifles; the lease for Alexandra Street, where the family of the Attorney General's family is earning significant money, has not been produced; and the fake oil scandal involving a close friend of the Prime Minister.

"All of these things are going to hang in the air over the Government especially in light of the fact that in the case Marlene McDonald there have been so many denials wrongdoing and now there is a possibility of her being charged. I don’t think it augurs well for the party as we go forward to the election. With under performance and other issues the voters in the marginals will look at the whole picture before supporting the party in the election."

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