FORMER UNC councillor Marcus Girdharrie who has switched allegiance to the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) is appealing to the electorate of Marabella South/Vistabella, to give him a second chance to represent them.
Girdharrie, who served as one of three United National Congress (UNC) councillors on the PNM-controlled San Fernando City Corporation (SFCC) since 2019, has filed nomination papers for the same seat he won back then, only on a PNM ticket this time.
In a “note to supporters” released on Sunday, Girdharrie wrote that, in his first term, he did his very best in assisting and providing them with the representation they elected him for.
After three years in the position as an opposition councillor, he said he has learnt that “in politics, there is the provision for “them” and for “us.”
“With the establishment of the local government reform, the mandate of providing for you my residents will be even more challenging while in opposition.”
He said he is yet to see a plan or strategy by the UNC to take control of the SFCC.
“It is for this reason,” he told his supporters, “I stand at this juncture in my political career and ask myself, “Do I seek to serve the people or the party?
“In an attempt to continue the work I have started for the betterment of the residents of Marabella South/Vistabella and by extension the city of San Fernando, I wish to inform you that I will be resigning from the UNC and will be joining the PNM,” he said, giving the appearance that he had switched allegiance prior to the leak on Friday.
“It is my desire to adequately provide for your needs above and beyond your expectations. I ask you to look at the person I am, (and) what I have already done and give me to opportunity once again to make Marabella South/Vistabella the district that you will feel safe, happy and delighted to live in along with your families.”
In response, at the UNC’s weekly media conference on Sunday, Dr Tim Gopeesingh echoed sentiments expressed by PRO Dr Kirk Meighoo that, "They are free to move as they want. There are many more who want to fill their positions."
Gopeesingh said the UNC had strong measures to determine suitability for governance in the party as well as disciplinary measures.
Meighoo did indicate that certain people were told they would not be considered for local government elections 2023 and some of those “rejects” were being grabbed by the PNM as some sort of victory.
Gopeesingh added, “For us, it doesn't matter who wants to move or who wants to go where because there are hundreds who are willing to fill those positions. Every citizen is entitled to his choice."
Girdharrie is the third UNC councillor to defect to the PNM.
At a PNM meeting in Malabar last week, the Prime Minister welcomed two former UNC councillors, Sheldon “Fish” Garcia and Samuel Sankar, who were present, “to the PNM family.”
On that occasion, Rowley said he expected citizens, after witnessing their rectitude and examining their record of performance, would want to shift positions from where they were to where they now wanted to be.
Fish was the lone UNC councillor in the PNM-controlled Arima Borough Corporation. He won the seat for the UNC in the 2021 by-election for Arima Central. He had been functioning as an independent for some time. He officially resigned his position about two weeks ago.
Sankar is the former councillor for Warrenville/Kelly Village who fell out of grace with his party when he defied an instruction by his Political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar to boycott a meeting with the Prime Minister. (
With reporting by Vishanna Phagoo)