Last update: 10-Dec-2013 1:42 am
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Fabien’s unique campaign- listening
Independent St Joseph by-election candidate Errol Fabien has a different campaign style from his four other competitors. Instead of having political meetings, he says, he has listenings. “People come out and talk about what they want and I listen,” he said. Fabien said the idea came to him during walkabouts in the constituency. “I found out that was what I was doing more than anything else (listening).”
“That’s what parliamentary representatives have to do. Somehow, it’s gotten into our culture that politicians have to only talk and make promises.” The big meeting with a battery of speakers and entertainers and the walkabouts with a large entourage does not work for him. Plus, he still does not have any money. “I can’t beat them at that and they can’t beat me at what I do, connecting with the people.” And how many people came to his listenings? “I’ve only had informal listenings so far. There were about 20 people or so.”
Fabien said last night’s session was formally planned and expected to draw more people. He has been going on his walkabouts alone, too. “I ring doorbells and I talk to people. “That’s what I bring to this, the personal touch. This is not a show, I don’t have an entourage. I go to ask people what they want and how I can serve them.” He has done walkabouts in Mt Lambert, St Joseph and North Valsayn and “chatted with some farmers in Aranguez”.
Fabien said he does not want campaign funding from business people. “I don’t want to be beholden to any business. I have T-shirts and I accept a minimum of $20 for them. “Some people give $30, $60, $100.” So does he have a campaign headquarters and a campaign manager? “My campaign headquarters is upstairs Yummy Tummy on the Southern Main Road, Curepe. I have a campaign co-ordinator and a campaign consultant.”
Asked how people have been responding to him, Fabien said, “I’ve had good responses and great encouragement. People said they will vote for me. “Some ask me what I will do for them. These are the ones I have to explain what the role of a MP is. I tell them I am going to represent them. I am not going to promise them things they are entitled to, like streetlights, bridges, security.” Fabien, a radio host and television company owner, is best known by the national community as a comedian.
Asked how, based on the support he got, he thought he will fare in the election, he said, “I don’t know how to translate that into votes. I don’t have the money for the election machinery to find that out.” The by-election takes place on November 4, and his competitors are Crime Watch host Ian Alleyne for the People’s Partnership, Om Lalla for the Independent Liberal Party, former senator Terrence Deyalsingh for the People’s National Movement and Michael Lopez for the Democratic National Assembly.
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