THE People’s National Movement (PNM) made a bid to solidify its position in the Opposition stronghold of central Trinidad, yesterday, when it formally opened Balisier House, Chaguanas, and called on voters to give the party a chance.
PNM political leader and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley also sent a message to the Opposition which has been able to hold on to power in this region, “every single seat in TT is targeted by the PNM.”
He said not only Chaguanas East – where the party has named Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat as its general election candidate – is being pursued, “but we are equally eager in Couva South, Couva North, Caroni Central, Caroni East and all constituencies in central TT. There will be a formidable PNM standard-bearer.”
Calling on eligible voters to give his party a chance, Rowley made an appeal.
“You have tried the rest, now try the best – the PNM.”
The incumbent MP is Fazal Karim of the United National Congress (UNC).
Rowley said Central has some of the “staunchest PNM supporters” but because of their location, it is difficult to openly show this support. He said the opening of the office was not by accident but by design, “based on our fundamental principle that we are a national party for all the people of TT, cutting across race, colour, creed, class or location.”
“We of the PNM have come here to Central, not in a strange place as some might think, not in a place unknown to us because we have always maintained a presence in this part of the country. Some of the staunchest PNM supporters are in areas where it is difficult to be PNM and Central has those members.
“It is easier to be PNM in Diego Martin and Laventille, because there is a view those are PNM strongholds, but when you are PNM in Chaguanas East, when you are PNM in Chaguanas West and your are PNM in Couva South and areas where the PNM has not been your representative in the Parliament for a number of years, there are those who believe you don’t belong.
“People who support our party in this area where it is difficult for the PNM to win, we are saying to you, you are not alone, and you are not forgotten. PNM chairman Colm Imbert said the building will serve as the central regional office as well as the campaign office for Rambharat.
“It is the first time the PNM has established a regional office of this stature in this part of TT. It proves that the PNM is a movement for all, cutting across all races, religion, classes. It also underscores the value it places on the people of the area.”
Rambharat said people who have been opposed to the PNM in the past have already signalled their intention to join him in what he sees as a “battle” in Central.
He said the PNM is the only national party contesting every single seat, in every single election, since 1956, be it in the local, general, county council or Tobago House of Assembly.He said there was no comparison to other parties which fielded candidates dubbing them “parties of convenience.”
In some cases, he said, their opponents have fought either local or general elections, in one seat or a few seats, “but the PNM has fought for the people of TT when it is convenient and when it is not convenient.”