The largest number of electors registered to vote in today’s by-election is at the Don Miguel Hindu Primary School.
Confirmation came from corporate communications manager at the Election and Boundaries Commission (EBC) Dominic Hinds, as he gave a breakdown of the number of citizens listed to vote for the electoral districts of Barataria and Belmont East today.
Hinds said the EBC has put all measures in place for 13,444 electors who are registered to vote in both electoral districts. Voting hours are from 6 am to 6 pm.
Six candidates will be contesting the polls.
For Belmont the United National Congress (UNC) has announced Lianna Babb-Gonzales, the People’s National Movement (PNM) is being represented by Nicole Young and the Progressive Empowerment Party (PEP) has offered Felicia Holder.
Contesting Barataria is UNC’s Sharon Maraj-Dharam, PNM’s Kimberly Small and Christoph Samlal is PEP’s choice.
The seats in the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation and Portof- Spain City Corporation became vacant following the death of PNM councillors Pernell Bruno on July 8, 2017 and Darryl Rajpaul on November 18, 2017.
Rajpaul captured 724 votes in Belmont East, while the UNC received 49. There were two rejected ballots. Taking home the Barataria district was Bruno who obtained 1,898 votes.
The UNC secured 1,506 votes. There were 12 rejected ballots.
In the 2016 Local Government Election, the combined voting population was 13,454. There were 10,217 voters in Barataria. Belmont had 3,237.
In this year’s by-election, Hinds said the EBC had revised its Belmont list of voters to 3,237, while in Barataria there are 10,207 voters — ten electors less compared to 2016.
Hinds said of the eight polling stations in Barataria there are 17 polling divisions.
Of the 17 divisions, he said polling station 1405 at Don Miguel Hindu Primary School in El Socorro has the largest number of voters of the two electoral district registering 2,010. “This is the largest number by far,” Hinds said.
Trailing behind is polling division 1336 with 961 electors at Barataria South Secondary School, followed by 691 voters at Barataria Anglican Primary School at polling division 1360.
Polling division 1380 at Barataria North Secondary School has the least with 321 voters.
At Belmont, Hinds said there were seven polling divisions. He said St Francois Girls’ College has recorded 618 voters—the highest number of voters at polling division 0810.
Following closely behind was 604 electorates at St Francis Boys’ College at polling division 0795.
Melville Memorial Girls’ AC Primary School has the smallest number of voters of 311 at polling division 0855.
At each polling station, Hinds said there will be a minimum of five polling day staff inclusive of a presiding officer.
Police officers will also be posted inside and outside the stations to ensure law and order.
Hinds advised that voters will not be allowed to enter voting booths with cellphones.
“We are fully prepared for the election. The EBC has everything in place,” Hinds said.
Electors are advised to call the EBC’s hotline at 627-1516 or 0745 if they have any queries or problems on polling day.
ABOUT THE CANDIDATES
Felicia Holder, 30, is PEP’s chairman. She currently holds a BA in human communications and English literature from the University of the West Indies. Holder is a communications officer who resides in Belmont.
Christoph Samlal, 25, is a photographer attached to PEP Media. He holds a BSc in mathematics and statistics from UWI. Samlal does a lot of humanitarian work for the underprivileged and vulnerable.
Lianna Babb-Gonzales owns Princerella Nursery and Kindergarten School in Belmont. She is a mother of three children and a boxing coach.
Sharon Maraj-Dharam is a homemaker and mother of two. She has been a party activist with the UNC for many years.
Kimberly Small has been involved in the PNM for over 10 years as a youth speaker. She is currently an HSE officer at a research institute. Small has worked in three successful election campaigns and served as PRO of the PNM’s party group 16.
Nicole Young is a past student of St Joseph Convent, Port-of-Spain ,and a graduated of UWI with a BSc in psychology. Young started her professional career as a social work assistant and is currently a Ministry of Education guidance counsellor. From 2015 to 2016, Young served as PRO for party group 5, Port-of-Spain North/ St Ann’s West.