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UNC Nomination Day: Fresh and familiar faces gather at Rienzi
Mayaro MP Winston Peters receives his nominations papers from UNC Chairman Khadijah Ameen at Rienzi Complex Couva, Monday. Photo: Rishi Ragoonath
A mix of fresh and familiar faces were among the United National Congress' (UNC) prospective candidates for the upcoming general elections seen collecting nomination forms at Rienzi Complex, Couva today.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, UNC leader, has not yet announced the election but has invited nominations for all 41 constituencies.
Even though the People’s Partnership government has lost four elections since it assumed office, Mayaro MP Winston “Gypsy” Peters says he cannot foresee the party losing the 2015 general elections.
“If it loses, then it means that people in T&T really and truly do not know what they want,” Peters said, as he collected a nomination form at Rienzi Complex, Couva yesterday, to contest the Mayaro seat.
The incumbent MP was the seventh person to arrive at the Complex. Nominations opened at 9 am and by 1 pm, 48 people had collected forms for several constituencies including Fyzabad, Mayaro, Princes Town, Pointe-a-Pierre, Laventille East/Morvant and Oropouche East.
Unlike his other Cabinet colleagues who sent agents to pick up the form, Peters collected the form himself and expressed confidence that if given the opportunity he would beat his People’s National Movement (PNM) opponent Clarence Rambharat.
Even though elections were only a few months away, Peters said he had the best chance of winning the seat because he never stopped campaigning.
“You always have to be in election mode because in T&T, an election can in fact be called at any time and you don’t want to be caught flat-footed. So you make sure you do all your elections things all the time,” he explained.
Peters added, “I have been doing everything that I am supposed to do. Mayaro was one of the constituencies neglected for years and we did everything humanly possible over the past five years. I cannot see this government losing an election. For this government to lose an election, people really and truly don’t know what they want.”
Asked whether it was true that elections would be held in September, Peters said, “I have absolutely no idea when it is going to be. Constitutionally it has to be in September. My Prime Minister said she will never delay any election so you can deduce your own election date.”
Mayaro MP Winston Peters leaves Rienzi Complex, Couva after collecteding a nomination form on Monday. Photo: Rishi Ragoonath
Also collecting forms yesterday was former MP for Princes Town and former agriculture and environment minister Dr Reeza Mohammed.
Mohammed, who served in the in the Basdeo Panday administration, was not selected by the UNC’s screening panel in 2010.
Asked why he decided to file nominations again for the Princes Town seat, Mohammed said, “I still feel I have a very good contribution to make and I am willing and able to do so. So here I am. What I intend to do is continue the work I started. I always tried to remove the dependency of the constituents on URP and other social programmes.”
Vijay Foster who is filing UNC nominations for Fyzabad and Reeza Mohammed, filing for Princess Town, share a moment while collecting nominations papers at Rienzi Complex, Couva, Monday. Photo: Rishi Ragoonath
Councillor for Avocat in the Siparia Regional Corporation Doodnath Mayhroo and retired school teacher Vijay Foster, who had campaigned in the last election for the Fyzabad’s incumbent MP Chandresh Sharma, also expressed an interest in filing nominations for Fyzabad.
UNC chairman Khadijah Ameen said that nominations would continue this week until Friday between 9 am to 4 pm. She said a deadline for the closure of nominations would be announced later in the week.
|Fyzabad resident Doodnath Mayroo shows the UNC nomination form that he collected at Rienzi Complex Couva, Monday. Photo: Rishi Ragoonath|
After this, Ameen said a date for screening would also be fixed and by month-end, the People’s Partnership would declare its slate of candidates.
She said each contender has to get the signatures of 40 supporters and must show evidence of the work done in the constituency. She said nomination was a participatory process and was not being held in a “top down” manner like in the PNM.
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