The United National Congress’ (UNC’s) choice for the San Fernando West seat in the upcoming general election, Sean Sobers, says the people of San Fernando are despondent and ready for change.
Sobers, who was introduced to UNC loyalists at the party’s national congress meeting on Sunday, said he is confident of his chances.
In an interview with Newsday on Monday, he said there are many "hung-up projects" within the region and so many failed promises that people do not know where to turn to for help.
“Almost a year and a half into the PNM’s term, I, along with many other people, felt disheartened by their governance.
“The waterfront project is nonexistent: there is only a large billboard at the site, and no one seems to know what is going on on the inside of the walls of Skinner Park.”
He added, a "disconnect" with the MP, AG Faris Al-Rawi, only adds to the problems of constituents, as they have no redress.
“The current MP does not live in San Fernando. It should not matter what other portfolio one holds, like Attorney General, minister or whatever. At the end of the day I think one will ultimately be regarded as a failure if one fails the people who actually put them there.”
Sobers said San Fernando has potential to grow, identifying several developmental and infrastructural projects in areas such as the San Fernando Hill, the Marabella line, the Mucurapo Street market, and urged the decentralisation of certain organisations.
President of the San Fernando Business Association Daphne Barltlett said while Sobers is not a familiar face, the association is looking for change and willing to work with anyone who can bring that.
“Unfortunately our city was described as a 'shanty town' by the current Minister of Finance. There is a lot of work to be done and we need representation.
“In the recent months we have been hearing promises upon promises and the usual political-season banter.”
Bartlett bemoaned the San Fernando waterfront project and described it as an eyesore, along with the upgrade of Skinner Park and the closure of Petrotrin.
She said job creation is at the top of the list for many people in San Fernando and environs.
“We need a change in this area and, so far, what has been articulated by the leader of the opposition seems to be in the right direction.
“We need to generate forex; we need to diversify and start looking at renewable energy. So many other islands in the Caribbean are ahead of us.”
She added that the authorities do not lack the foresight to boost the economy but are too dependent on the oil and gas industry.