PNM candidate for La Horquetta/Talparo Foster Cummings was joined on a community-organised Walk for Peace in the constituency on Sunday by members of the community, including members of the NNV. Cummings said he wanted La Horquetta to be a united community despite past challenges.
“Several people from the community arranged this and said they’d like us to attend this peace walk organised by them and we agreed to come and participate because we want to bring all the phases together, there are some challenges within the community and the young people took the initiative, they want to come together and work together for the benefit of La Horquetta in a unified fashion. It is expected this initiative will assist the young people in focusing on more productive endeavours as we move forward.”
Cummings was accompanied by Labour and Small Enterprise Development minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus and Rural Development and Local Government minister Kazim Hosein. During the walk, he was greeted by NNV leader Fuad Abu Bakr, who said he was pleased to meet Cummings for a second time.
“All these youths here, they are your constituents, and you are responsible for them as well, and everybody here. Listen to them, they have some concerns, they have some needs, I know it’s only a month but if anything else happens afterwards make sure they're well represented.”
Hosein said he was overwhelmed by the response to the walk. He said he was happy to see young people coming out to meet Cummings and asked the people of the community to support him so the PNM could be victorious when election results are counted.
Baptiste-Primus said many people in the community had raised issues with Cummings as he walked through the community.
“He has given them the assurance that he will be prepared to work with them after the election and put the necessary programmes in place. They've let him know they have high expectations and I'm sure he will try his best to meet those expectations by working with the community, working with and listening to the young people because the future of this country lies with the young people, they have a lot of good ideas if only we take time to put more trust in them and listen to them.”
La Horquetta Youth League Chairman Jenera Watts said she is confident the youth of La Horquetta Talparo will be making the right choice for this election.
“It is very admirable for us to see two sides in the community coming together for the sake of peace and this walk is a celebration of the youth and these two groups that usually oppose each other are coming together to pave a new and brighter future for themselves and their community and their constituency by extension. The main challenges throughout the constituency are jobs and a lack of training programmes, vocational programmes to ensure we lift up the youths, those who are educationally well-off, those who may not be, we’re trying to give everybody an equal opportunity at bettering their lives and financial stability. Once we tackle these challenges, we should get the area more developed, the youth will definitely be happier and these challenges should be mitigated in time to come.”
Cummings said once he is elected, he will be engaging consultation with the communities during the first hundred days.
“Our motto is building stronger communities but that must be from the ground up and not from the top down, so the first things we’ll do is in consultation with the various communities and we’re working with limited resources so we’ll have to prioritise what the needs are and we’ll address them in that order.”
At least 80 people turned up for the walk, with more joining along the way. Some masks were worn, but there was very little social distancing, despite consistent appeals from Cummings and the announcers on the music truck.