THE United National Congress (UNC) has broken the People’s National Movement (PNM) hold on San Fernando, winning three of the nine seats previously held by the PNM.
Marcus Girdharrie and Kern Ramdhin won the Vistabella South and Marabella West electoral districts, while Rishi Balramsingh won in Les Efforts West/La Romaine, defeating Alliyah Baksh of the PNM
While the PNM was busy dismantling Baksh’s campaign office on the Gulf View Link Road after her defeat was confirmed, supporters of her winning opponent Balramsingh were putting up “Thank You” posters on the opposite side of the road.
A recount is set for a fourth seat in the Cocoyea/Tarouba electoral district, where Teresa Lynch of the PNM won by one vote.
This was a sense of déjà vu, as Lynch’s father Leslie a former councillor also won his seat by one vote many years ago and is still referred today as “One Vote Lynch.”
Although disappointed by the results, PNM co-ordinator and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein said, “We are still in charge of the San Fernando City Corporation (SFCC). We won six, we lost three. And we are going to be fair to everyone, to every citizen in San Fernando.”
Attorney General and MP for San Fernando West Faris Al-Rawi said it was not unexpected, in that the Les Efforts West/La Romaine was traditionally a UNC seat.
“This particular seat, we actually won once in 26 years. Anderson Williams won that seat in 2016 for the first time in 26 years. So it is traditionally a UNC stronghold in that sense.”
He also said the closure of Petrotrin’s Pointe-a-Pierre plant had ahad an effect in Marabella South and East.
“The issue of Petrotrin is quite close to people’s hearts,” he noted. “So I am not surprised in any way or in any fashion, nor am I disheartened.”
Al-Rawi also attributed the PNM defeat in Marabella partly to the Movement for Social Justice candidates, who pulled some PNM votes.
At his Gulf View home, where a celebration took place on Monday night, Balramsingh, whose seat was the first declared for the UNC in the San Fernando area, said he was happy to break the PNM’s grip.
UNC deputy leader David Lee said the party had made inroads into Sangre Grande and Tunapuna corporations and solidified its standing in Rio Claro/ Mayaro, but had made the biggest gains in the SFCC.