Results from today’s Tobago House of Assembly (THA) elections should start coming in to returning officers from around 7.30 pm.
This estimate was given yesterday by Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) chief elections officer Ramesh Nanan, who is in Tobago.
“All systems are in place for today’s THA poll,” he said.
Polling takes place from 6 am to 6 pm at stations in the 12 THA seats. Some 50,227 citizens are eligible to vote.
Special attention in today’s exercise is whether turnout will match 2013 when there was a record 60 per cent with 48, 980 votes cast.
Tobago experienced heavy rains early yesterday, hampering some final-day motorcades. This included the ruling People’s National Movement’s motorcades in east Tobago. Detours had to be taken by vehicles in some areas, which were to be revisited later in the day.
Rain is also forecast for today but there will be no extension of voting hours, EBC officials confirmed.
A total of 39 candidates from four parties are contesting today from the PNM, PSA President Watson Duke’s Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), Christlyn Moore’s Tobago Forwards (TF) and former PNMite Eudine Job-Davis’ Movement for Transformation (MFT).
PNM’s Tobago fight is being led for the first time by Kelvin Charles who was elected in June 2016 to succeed outgoing Tobago PNM leader Orville London who held the position for 16 years.
The PDP, TF and MFT are seeking to dethrone, or at least make inroads into the PNM’s current 12 seat control of the THA.
The PNM, PDP and TF are contesting all 12 electoral seats but the MFT is contesting only in three seats—Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah, Black Rock/Whim and Roxborough/Delaford.
Unlike the 2013 campaign when the then Peoples’ Partnership Government supported the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) in that poll, which the PNM won overwhelmingly, today’s contestants are all Tobagonian, since the PP-UNC has stayed out of the campaign.
Commenting on today’s exercise, PNM Tobago Council chairman Standford Callendar said: “We’re winning the election. I don’t want to pin it down to numbers but we will. We’re aiming for a turnout as large as 2013’s record number.
“I don’t know what the weather will be like tomorrow, but we’re organising appropriately.”
Duke’s PDP recently projected winning a handful of seats. However, Duke didn’t answer calls yesterday.
TF’s Moore said: “We’re aiming for all 12 seats. We put in much work and it’s been uphill but Tobago’s appetite for change has made it easier.
“We’re looking for a new landscape. I’m confident the 12-nil situation is a thing of the past. Tobago won’t see that again.”
Job- Davis was unavailable for comment.
Top PNM campaign handlers from Trinidad are in Tobago for the election. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was in Tobago from last Thursday. He returned to Trinidad for last Friday’s special Parliamentary sitting to validate the order for the THA polls and has been back in Tobago since Saturday.
People’s National Movement
Political Leader Kelvin Charles—Black Rock/Whim/Spring Garden
Marslyn Jack—Scarborough/Calder Hall
Marissa Williams—Parlatuvier/L’Anse Fourmi/Speyside
Marisha Osmond—Plymouth/Golden Lane
Jomo Pitt—Lambeau/Signal Hill
Shomari Hector—Bethel/Mt Irvine
Ancil Dennis—Buccoo/Mt Pleasant
Joel Jack—Bacolet/Mt St George
Sheldon Cunningham—Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah
Clarence Jacob—Canaan/Bon Accord
Hayden Spencer—Belle Garden/Goodwood
Political Leader Christlyn Moore—Bethel Mt. Irvine
Steve Jack—Goodwood/Belle Garden
Kelton Thomas—Canaan/Bon Accord
Barry Nelson—Lambeau/Signal Hill
Beverley Ramsey- Moore—Black Rock/Whim/ Spring Garden
Cecil Phillips—Scarborough/Calder Hall
Maria Mac Farlane-Williams—Buccoo/Mt Pleasant
Niall George—Plymouth/Golden Lane
Orwin Dillon—Bacolet/Mt St George
Winston John—Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah
Progressive Democratic Patriots
Political Leader Watson Duke—Roxborough/Delaford
Curtis Douglas—Plymouth/Golden Lane
Kerry Lynch—Scarborough/Calder Hall
Avanelle Baird—Black Rock/Whim/Spring Garden
Farley Augustine—Parlatuvier/L’anse Fourmi/Speyside
Dr. Faith B. Yisrael—Belle Garden/Goodwood
Nikkisha Martin—Bacolet/Mt. St. George
Wane Clarke—Lambeau/Signal Hil
Alicia Roberts-Patterson—Bethel/Mt. Irvine
Dr. Sean Nedd—Buccoo/Mt. Pleasant
Nyron Leung—Canaan/Bon Accord
Melanie Roberts—Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah
Movement For Transformation
Political Leader Eudine Job-Davis—Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah
Lasana Groome—Black Rock/Whim/Spring Garden
SOURCE: www.guardian.co.tt (Gail Alexander)