Heavy banter during Siparia nomination day

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 - 11:30

The coun­cil cham­ber of the Siparia Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion has been a po­lit­i­cal bat­tle­ground over the last three years with the Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress (UNC) hold­ing a slight ma­jor­i­ty. Both par­ties are now seek­ing to win at least two more seats in the De­cem­ber 2 lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions for prop­er con­trol over the re­gion.

There was much ban­ter be­tween PNM and UNC sup­port­ers at the Siparia Mar­ket Plaza as the can­di­dates sub­mit­ted their nom­i­na­tions with­out prob­lems. The MSJ al­so sub­mit­ted their nom­i­na­tions as well.


“Who we vot­ing for? PNM!” coun­tered UNC’s “PNM must go!” chants in the car park. While it was friend­ly at most times, there were fight­ing words from the can­di­dates.

Fol­low­ing the 2016 polls, the UNC won five out of the nine elec­toral dis­tricts, but elect­ing a chair­man be­came dif­fi­cult when Leo Dood­nath, the for­mer SRC chair­man, de­clared him­self an in­de­pen­dent. This left the coun­cil at a dead­lock, but Ra­mad­hars­ingh was even­tu­al­ly elect­ed as chair­man amidst some con­tro­ver­sy. Dood­nath has since bowed out and Ra­mona Vic­tor is seek­ing to re­place him as the UNC coun­cil­lor for Siparia East/San Fran­cique South.

Siparia West/Fyz­abad in­cum­bent Mau­rice Alexan­der and his UNC chal­lenger Ja­son Ali met for a brief mo­ment and shook hands. How­ev­er, Alexan­der was con­fi­dent he will re­tain his seat.

He said based on the is­sues PNM coun­cil mem­bers had with Ra­mad­hars­ingh over the years, he said the peo­ple no­ticed and will make the right choice.

“For the past three years, the coun­try knows we had a lot of is­sues with Dr Ra­mad­hars­ingh and the UNC. How­ev­er, com­ing down to the last we set­tled down and we be­gan work­ing well. I fore­see this time around, the peo­ple know the right choice and on De­cem­ber 2, they will al­low us to once and for all, man­age their af­fairs lo­cal­ly,” Alexan­der said.

But Ali said he will win by a large mar­gin. He said Alexan­der served for two terms and there are peo­ple in his dis­trict who claim they’ve on­ly seen their rep­re­sen­ta­tive dur­ing elec­tion sea­son. He said full rep­re­sen­ta­tion and con­stant con­tact with his burgess­es is what he of­fers.

“They have promised to do a lot of things in the area and no­body has ever got any­thing sub­stan­tial. There is no work be­ing done in cer­tain parts of Siparia West/ Fyz­abad. We have some work go­ing on, but in tar­get­ed ar­eas.”

PNM first-timer Natkether Richards, who is seek­ing to un­seat UNC in­cum­bent Av­o­cat/San Fran­cique North coun­cil­lor Dood­nath Mayrhoo said that while the cam­paign is a chal­lenge, she has the right sup­port to get the job done. She said the in­fra­struc­ture and light­ing are is­sues that need to be ad­dressed in her elec­toral dis­trict, adding that the in­cum­bent does noth­ing.

“Most of the peo­ple in the area don’t know who is the in­cum­bent. They don’t see him at all be­cause he does noth­ing there. Since I was born and raised in that area and every­body knows me, I stand a bet­ter chance,” Richards said.

Mayrhoo is con­fi­dent that not on­ly would he re­gain his seat, but that Ali would de­feat Alexan­der. 

“I am say­ing 6-3 at this point in time, tak­ing in­to con­sid­er­a­tion what this gov­ern­ment did over the last four years. I think the pop­u­la­tion has been wait­ing pa­tient­ly for this op­por­tu­ni­ty to send a sig­nal to the gov­ern­ment that enough is enough,” Mayrhoo said.

While Ramd­hars­ingh has com­plained that the Min­istry of Fi­nance had starved the cor­po­ra­tion of funds, Mayrhoo said the peo­ple would vote UNC, and ral­ly un­til 2020 when the UNC re­turns to Gov­ern­ment.