CONSTITUENTS of Tabaquite on Wednesday expressed mixed views about PNM prospective candidate, former police inspector, Michael Seales, the PNM, UNC and the upcoming general election.
On Monday, PNM public relations officer Laurel Lezama-Lee Sing said the party chose Seales as its Tabaquite candidate.
He was originally screened for the Couva North seat held by the UNC's Ramona Ramdial. On his selection, Seales said, "I welcome the challenge. It shows that the leadership of the party has confidence in terms of what they think I can offer. Once I get an opportunity to make a difference, I am going to take full advantage of it."
Tabaquite, a traditional UNC stronghold, is represented in the House of Representatives by Dr Surujrattan Rambachan. Last August, Rambachan announced that he was bowing out of electoral politics and would not stand for re-election.
He said, "I want to assure you that my decision to redefine my role in the politics of my country, and more particularly in the future of my party, has nothing to do with disaffection or disappointment in my leader, nor with any fundamental differences with my colleagues.”
When Newsday visited Tabaquite on Wednesday, most constituents declined to be interviewed about Seales, Rambachan or the upcoming election. The few who did had differing opinions on these topics. A constituent, who said his name was Raoul, said: "We need everything. We were abandoned. We have nothing here."
Raoul said young people in Tabaquite had no jobs and this "equals violence, equals robbery." Asked about Rambachan's performance as MP over the last five years, Raoul replied, “I didn't even know he was the MP for down here. We never see him."
He also said he did not know anything about Seales. He did not believe the quality of life of Tabaquite constituents would be helped by whoever is elected MP. “Who assist the people in the covid19 pandemic? We see nobody. We fight for ourselves in the pandemic. Somebody come and say something. We didn't get any hampers."
A domestic worker from Whiteland, who said her name was Agnes Marcelin, said she did not know much about Seales but was willing to give him a chance. "I don't know he will win because this is UNC territory, but I wish him well," she said.
A woman from Poonah, who declined to give her name, said: "We only see them around election time. Nobody care for the people."
A vendor who identified himself as Samlal Jaikaran said, "That man can't win nothing here. PNM never do nothing for nobody here. Whoever (UNC political leader) Kamla (Persad-Bissessar) pick go win here." Jaikaran felt Rambachan did his best as MP but got no help from the Government.
A man who declined to give his name said people in Tabaquite had been suffering long before the covid19 pandemic came. "No jobs, the roads need fixing." He could not say whether Rambachan was effective as an MP or Seales would do a better job if elected.