SUPPORTERS of the People’s National Movement (PNM) San Fernando East constituency surrounded their three local government candidates in a circle of prayer, before they marched to the Pleasantville Secondary School, accompanied by tassa drummers, to file nomination papers on Monday morning.
A female constituent prayed for a shield of protection around the candidates – Robert Parris (Pleasantville), Teresa Lynch (Cocoyea/Tarouba) and newcomer Nigel Cuttier, (Mon Repos/Navet) – who held hands and stood in the middle of the circle.
MP for the area Randall Mitchell addressed the supporters in the lobby of the Pleasantville Plaza, where they gathered for prayers. He thanked the incumbent Parris and Lynch for the work they had done over the past three years and was confident that they, along with Cuttier, would receive a new mandate to continue to serve the constituency.
Mitchell was also sure the PNM would retain all seats, judging from the response of the constituents and the show of support at its convention the day before.
From the plaza to the nearby returning office of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) at the Pleasantville Secondary School, supporters waved flags and danced to the sound of the drums as Mitchell and constituency chair, Patricia Alexis urged supporters to celebrate, but in an orderly way.
After the short march, which saw drivers flashing lights and popping their horns in support, the contingent remained at the entrance to the school, as classes were in progress.
Parris explained the EBC office was at the back of the school, and there was no disruption.
He said the process went very smoothly for the PNM, with each candidate taking no more than five minutes to file their papers.
The United National Congress (UNC) candidates, however, spent some time sorting out their documents.
Parris expressed some reservations that his challenger from the UNC was only named during the party’s election campaign launch on Sunday.
“That is gross disrespect. A representative must be someone who is rooted in the community and who understands the culture of the community.
“Pleasantville is hallowed ground for the PNM and San Fernando East and will continue to be after the December 2 local government elections,” Parris predicted.