Hundreds flocked to attend the UNC’s Local Government launch on Sunday at the car park of the UNC’s Couva South Constituency offices at Camden Road, Couva. The crowd was not as massive as in the days of Kamla-mania prior to the 2010 general election but was considerably different since there was a large gathering of Afro-T&T supporters and Venezuelan nationals donning UNC T-shirts who came out to support candidates from north and south Trinidad.
Yelismar del Carmen Matheus and Sanchez Salazar and their children, who have difficulty speaking English, were donned in UNC colours. By 2pm most of the maxi taxis had already brought supporters to the venue and were busy looking for places to park in the various backroads and in-front of businesses in a community where parking is scarce.
Some supporters choose to remain on the pavement outside the Couva District Hospital while a handful gravitated to the nearby backstage bar where they had a cold beverage and listened to the proceedings. Kamla Persad-Bissessar walked into the event through the crowds after 2pm to get the show going.
Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh was the first to open the batting as he bashed government’s economic policies. Mothers with children sought shelter from the sun in the few tents available. Fuad Khan’s decision not to contest the 2020 general election was on the lips of many UNC die-hards.
Anthony Bennet, one of Khan’s constituents, knelt and begged Khan to reconsider. Bennet told Guardian Media that Khan was the best representative that the part has. Kenya Charles, the leader of the Women’s Arm said she wished Khan all success in his future endeavours. Princes Town MP Barry Padarath had the full attention of the crowd as he bashed the PNM with their version of Sex, Lies and Money. Padarath made way for David Lee the Pointe-a-Pierre MP.
Persad-Bissessar came on stage and also started bashing the Keith Rowley regime claiming mismanagement. Her lengthy speech also gave some election promises. One that caught the ear was a promise to introduce legislation to decriminalise marijuana. Pockets of the crowd cheered with this news to allow the masses to access ganja. After she wound up the 139 candidates were announced.
Story and image by SHASTRI BOODAN
Image caption: Yelismar del Carmen Matheus, left, Sanchez Salazar and their children at the UNC rally yesterday.