SEVENTEEN years after the constituency of Pointe-a-Pierre rejected him as a candidate, government senator Daniel Dookie, is taking a second leap of fate.
Dookie who was selected by the People’s National Movement (PNM) as the candidate to contest the seat in the 2020 general elections, is confident he can make the transition from Senator to MP.
In 2002 Dookie fought and lost the seat to Gillian Lucky before she was elevated to the judiciary.
Pointe-a-Pierre, which is currently represented in the Parliament by David Lee of the UNC, is considered one of five marginals the PNM is hoping to secure in the 2020 general elections, hence the reason it has started to identify candidates alongside those contesting the local elections.
Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat who fought and lost the Ortoire/Mayaro seat in the last elections also earned the party’s confidence to contest another marginal, Chaguanas East.
Lee, however, does not believe constituents will elect a PNM representative given the Petrotrin experience. The state oil company was shut down last November and all workers were sent home. Lee said the closure had affected not only workers but the entire constituency and southern Trinidad which depended on the company for sustainability.
Dookie is toeing the line of his party that Petrotrin was not shut down but restructured. He is confident that his work in the constituency over the past seven years puts him in good position to bring home the seat to the PNM.
“We understand it is a sensitive situation that has to be managed with compassion and we would deal with the issues as they come up,” Dookie said.
Even though the 2015 PNM choice to contest the seat against was hometown businessman Neil Mohammed, Dookie told the Newsday, “The reality is, since 2002 I have not left the constituency.
“I have always been involved at every level, including the executive.”
He chose not to offer a response when asked why Mohammed was not considered. Dookie was unanimously nominated by the 17 party groups and youth league then screened and accepted by the screening committee headed by PNM political leader Dr Keith Rowley.
Dookie said over the years through his intervention, the constituency, in which he lives, has benefitted from major infrastructural work. He identified the lighting and upgrade of several recreation grounds in Tarouba, Marabella East, Pranz Gardens, several water projects to improve supply and road rehabilitation. He said as a member of the board of the T&TEC, he was also able to make representation for street lighting in many communities.
Elected to the party’s general council as assistant general secretary and then in the substantive position when former general secretary Ashton Ford left, Dookie said in 2007, 2010 and 2015, it was decided that he would be more useful to the party at other levels rather than as an elected representative.
Having gained political experience and confidence of the people who believe in him, Dookie said, “I am prepared to be the standard bearer for the PNM.”
He said his focus was on executing plans and strategies to the best of his ability to do what is necessary and not ponder too much on the opposition.
With the assistance of Rural Development and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein who has assumed the position of the constituency co-ordinator, Dookie said his campaign had already started.
Hosein who assisted in the successful campaign of both San Fernando East and West constituencies int he 2015 election is hoping for similar results in Pointe-a-Pierre in 2020.