The People's National Movement will come with a slate of fresh faces in mayoral positions by the time the process of selecting governing bodies for the regional corporations is completed next week.
The T&T Guardian understands that the party selected new mayors for the corporations they now control following an executive meeting at Balisier House, Port-of-Spain, on Tuesday night. The PNM also changed chairmen at five of the corporations, the only exceptions being San Juan/Laventille and Sangre Grande, which is yet to be resolved due to the tie between the PNM and the United National Congress following the recent Local Government elections.
Rural Development and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein said yesterday that mayors, deputies, chairmen and vice chairmen were selected during Tuesday's meeting.
Leading the new group of mayors is Lisa Morris, the grand-daughter of former Arima mayor Leroy Morris, who is set to continue in the family's tradition as the second generation mayor of that borough on Tuesday. She is to be ably assisted by Cagney Cassimere as deputy.
Also on Tuesday, Port-of-Spain will say farewell to Mayor Keron Valentine and welcome Joel Martinez and his deputy Hillan Murray. Martinez was announced as a North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) board member last year soon after the PNM took office. He's been a frontline PNM activist in the north-west for years and is chairman of the party's Diego Martin North East constituency, where party vice chairman Colm Imbert is MP.
On the same day, Junia Regrello will take over from Hosein as mayor of San Fernando, while the deputy position he held in the last council will be bestowed on Vidya Mungal-Bissessar.
Regrello, a former San Fernando West Member of Parliament under the Patrick Manning administration, spearheaded operations that brought home the Les Efforts West seat for PNM in last week's Local Government elections. The PNM had not won that seat in 24 years. Contacted yesterday, Regrello said he was happy to serve his party, San Fernando and his country.
Later on Friday, the mayoral chain will be placed around the neck of former councillor Abdon Mason, who will succeed Clyde Paul as mayor of Point Fortin. His deputy is a second generation councillor Kennedy Richards Jr, the son of former councillor for Hollywood, Kennedy Richards.
Ford said yesterday that when the election tie impasse is over, in their favour, Sangre Grande will continue for the next three years with Terry Rondon as chairman. When that happens, he said Simone Gill will become the vice chairman. Ford said Anthony Roberts is the only other chairman who is being retained. His vice chairman will be Richard Walcott.
In Tunapuna/Piarco, Paul Leacock will take the oath of chairman and Onika Haynes that of deputy. In Diego Martin, acting chairman Cathy Christopher, who filled in when Darryl Smith was elected as MP and later Sports Minister, will make way for another woman, Susan Hong.
Hong had spearheaded operations in the PNM's Diego Martin west unit - Prime Minister Keith Rowley's constituency - for years. Catherine Mendez will serve as vice chair.