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Wednesday 22 January 2020
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Letters to the Editor

Forerunner of what's to come next year?

THE EDITOR: There seems to have been something of a departure from the traditional ethnic voting that has come to characterise our politics with the UNC making inroads into traditional PNM territory, viz Sangre Grande and San Fernando.

The shift was by no means radical for, judging by the election results, give and take, the ethnic pattern was maintained by and large with the PNM winning the African-based urban corporations and the UNC the East Indian-based rural – seven-seven.

But the upsetting of the status quo in Grande and San Fernando was by no means insignificant for the PNM, despite the consolatory take of “getting more seats,” judging by the sombre mood of both PNM bigwigs and their supporters at Balisier House, according to some media reports.

Terry Rondon’s lament in the news on the PNM’s loss in Grande is a clear case in point. This reaction from the PNM would have probably stemmed from the presumption that the party could never be beaten in its traditional territory, and now the critical question is why.

The UNC vote would have little to do directly with these losses for such vote would have been traditionally maximised in favour of that party, but even so, PNM support would have been enough to defeat the UNC in such presumed PNM territory. One can only deduce from this is that PNM supporters did not vote for the party as they usually did, and again the question is why.

Perhaps the low voter turnout may help to explain this but is that good enough, for the PNM grassroots never compromise the vote for the party to its detriment?

Another mystery is the fact that, according to Rondon in the news, a lot of work would have been done in Sangre Grande with roads newly paved, inter alia, yet the turnout there was not enough to win.

Is it possible that at last the average voter is now concerned with the quality of representation, which was Rondon’s complaint that the right candidates were not selected?

To extend this argument further, is it also true to suggest that voters this round refused to be conned by the old ethnic bogey of voting for the party irrespective, once they have been driven to a point of desperation where their survival is at stake?

Is this desperation tied in to the fact that this society has had so much to bear with respect to job loss and retrenchment as per Petrotrin, ArcelorMittal, Yara, Unilever and increasing taxation as per the impending property tax and the high cost of living, runaway crime and lack of security with people virtually imprisoned in their homes, that it was only a matter of time that the populace would be driven to put the race card in the politics aside and send a clear message to those perceived to be responsible?

In1986 the people did the unthinkable by voting out the PNM in favour of another alternative, any alternative, because they couldn’t take it anymore. Is this the forerunner of what is to come in 2020?

Is it time for the PNM to wake up and smell the coffee, according to Rondon?

DR ERROL N BENJAMIN

via e-mail

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