Incumbent San Fernando West MP Faris Al-Rawi says it is impossible to please everyone at the same time, so he was not surprised that the Louis Bertrand HHB 2020 General Election poll found he had not done enough in his constituency.
The poll, commissioned by Guardian Media, placed the People’s National Movement’s Al-Rawi in the lead against the United National Congress’ Sean Sobers with a 20 per cent advantage but said Al-Rawi’s main problem was that he is perceived as doing nothing (26 per cent).
Speaking to Guardian Media about the poll results during a walkabout on Thursday, Al-Rawi said the poll said this of every MP.
“Remember there will always be people who think you’ve not done enough. For the wealthy areas, the issue of a road, hump, a drain is seen as a burning issue; the issue of housing for squatters is an equally burning issue. So I am sure that across the community, local government issues will plague some people and no one can ever please everyone at the same time,” Al-Rawi said.
He said the pollster Bertrand was well known and his findings were not far off from the PNM’s own internal polls.
“We do constant tracking polls and we are well ahead of the game,” Al-Rawi said.
“Whilst it is reassuring to have an independent entity confirm what we know already, that the San Fernando West is safely in the hands of the PNM and that I, as the incumbent, stands in a very good position, we in the PNM perform on our own work schedule... It’s about door to door. I don’t put my faith in a poll.”
Al-Rawi said as the MP, he had divided his constituency and had advanced its development.
“We have thousands of squatters, 8,500, living in eleven HDC settlements and the rest living in extreme wealth or the middle. We went to the squatting communities and we now up to 400 homes in depressed invisible areas, where people have no lands, no services and no hope. Our 11 HDC communities have been attended to in 2016 to 2020 with massive renovation and repair. We went into 30 projects to bring prosperity and commenced them in quick order,” Al-Rawi said.
He noted that the PNM also had a dedicated plan in place to bring voters to the polling station in a safe manner.
He said because of COVID-19 T&T needed seasoned Parliamentarians, noting that while he liked his opponents Sobers and Progressive Party’s Nikoli Edwards, neither man had the experience to lead.
“Now is not the time for a trainee government. It requires a government with experience, a seasoned position,” Ali-Rawi added.
However, in an interview, Edwards lashed back, saying, “Need I remind Mr Al-Rawi that his former political leader started off as an MP at the age of 24? That is four years younger than I am. I started in the Senate at the age of 25 and have been serving groups for the majority of my adult life.
“His rhetoric of “too young to serve” is exactly what is wrong with our society and persons like him who see youth as tokens and not as valuable contributors, who in many cases can actually perform better than our elders. In San Fernando West I believe we prefer someone who might be ‘too young’ rather than too absent.”
Meanwhile, Sobers said he has been getting a surge of support.
“Many people are being drawn in by my development plans to make transformation real. We have been gaining ground daily since embarking on this campaign,” Sobers said.
“I really feel constituents are ready for better representation and excited about projects to improve the city like developing the Wharf into a transportation hub. I am looking forward to consulting with my constituents, so they can be included in the development plans to help revitalise San Fernando.”
He said he has been distributing masks and sanitisers and has adhered to COVID-19 guidelines.