The PNM’s co-ordinators for the recent Local Government campaign meet tomorrow (Friday) to do a post-mortem of Monday’s election results - and some in charge of Sangre Grande have claimed UNC won it because of alleged “inducements.”
But PNM Sangre Grande co-ordinator Indar Parasram who made the claim on Tuesday said this was alleged to him and he wasn’t pursuing a probe of it.
Parasram (PNM’s elections Officer and URP Programme Director) said the allegation was brought to him during Monday’s election. Guardian Media had asked why the PNM lost the seat which the party had targetted and into which PNM had pumped great resources recently. It was where PNM’s final public meeting was held last Thursday attracting a crowd which PNMites claimed numbered “thousands”.
But in Monday’s poll, PNM lost the seat to the UNC.
Parasram said the UNC got about 30,000 plus votes to the PNM’s 28,000 plus. Why?
Parasram insisted while the PNM ran a “superior campaign” and its votes in the area increased, there was greater increase for the UNC especially in Sangre Grande north. He added UNC votes in their stronghold areas helped them through.
Pressed on why PNM’s extensive attention to the area didn’t work, Parasram then claimed he’d never “seen UNC machinery when he was on the ground” and on Monday the inducement allegation was brought to him. He said the information was conveyed to an EBC officer, “But I don’t want it investigated, I’m just saying what happened. What would a probe do now?”
Parasram added, “After Friday’s post-mortem, I’ll report to the party on what I think should happen in future.”
He said PNM deputy leader and National Campaign Manager Rohan Sinanan wasn’t at PNM’s Balisier House headquarters on Monday night since he was with him in Sangre Grande.
Sinanan admitted on television Tuesday the UNC “did improve” in the poll, but claimed UNC made no impact in the East-West corridor and if one couldn’t do so, a party couldn’t win a general election.”
He attributed the PNM’s Sangre Grande loss to the UNC holding on to areas where it normally enjoyed support. Sinanan admitted that in San Fernando, the Petrotrin closure may have impacted “some outcomes” there. Sinanan said PNM will do “some serious analysis “ to determine the way for its 2020 general election strategy. But Sinanan didn’t reply to Guardian Media’s queries sent via WhatsApp on what caused the Grande loss after so much PNM effort, whether statements by himself or others turned voters off and what benefit PNM obtained from the input of ex- UNC MP Collin Partap.
Partap began assisting PNM co-ordination in September in Cumuto areas- where he’d been UNC MP in 2010 to 2015. He also denounced the UNC. Partap and former PNM MP Roger Boynes, another Sangre Grande co-ordinator didn’t reply to our calls.
On the California- Pt Lisas seat which the UNC had been very worried about losing, Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste- Primus who said she played a prominent role in mobilising, said the PNM went into UNC areas where it never had before, “Everywhere we went there were drainage issues and people complained the councillor didn’t perform but they said to us despite issues, they were voting for the party - UNC. We lost by 400 votes.”
PNM officials also said they’d noted that PPM ‘s Cleveland Garcia had received 353 votes in Woodbrook where he’d been a former PNM councillor.
Nevertheless, the PNM’s Port-of-Spain campaign - co-ordinated by Port-of-Spain South MP Marlene McDonald - brought home the 12 seats, they said.