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Minister of Education Anthony Garcia

The PNM’s Arima MP Anthony Garcia has received constituency executive support to be the nominee, while retired assistant police commissioner Donald Denoon is being recommended to the party as the next Point Fortin candidate

Saturday, the PNM’s Arima executive met to finalise a recommendation to give to the party’s screening team. There were three nominees–Garcia, former MP Penny Beckles-Robinson and Arima dentist Dr Hillary Bernard. Following talks, the unit’s officers confirmed to Guardian Media that Garcia received the most support followed by Bernard, then Beckles-Robinson.

High-level PNM officials said there are other East-West corridor seats still to be screened. They also did not discount that Beckles-Robinson could be screened for another area. Arima’s nominees will likely to be screened on Thursday.

They noted that Lopinot-Bon Air, D’Abadie-O’Meara, Toco-Sangre Grande and other seats were still to be dealt with. Lopinot-Bon Air MP Cherrie-Ann Crichlow-Cockburn didn’t submit a nomination. But four others did including former PNM senator Alisha Romano. Toco MP Glenda Jennings-Smith submitted nomination (among four others) and D’Abadie MP Ancil Antoine is one of two nominees in his area.

PNM officials have also noted the three East-West corridor seats where PNM’s Couva North nominee, former police inspector Michael Seales was concerned. They noted that he is a high-profile nominee.

On Saturday, Seales’ team hadn’t received word on where he may be placed. They said he was open to being placed where PNM wanted him to be. UNC Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial last Friday said Seales would be beaten if he contested in the UNC stronghold area.

Winston “Gypsy” Peters, screened last Thursday also, is expected to get the official nod for Moruga. Party officials said they want to make announcements on candidates. Peters was in Moruga on Saturday talking to residents who had protested earlier in the week. Constituency chairman David Trim, who was walking with Peters in the area, said the people are on now on board, and they indicated that they did not get proper information during the week.

Meanwhile, Point Fortin officials said on Saturday that retired police commissioner Denoon was their choice. He’s secretary of PNM’s Point executive. It was recently hinted that mayor Kennedy Richards may have been considered. Executive officials who met recently on the matter said that Denoon “is a solid choice.” Born in Fullerton, Cedros, his father Argyle Denoon was a retired principal from Speyside, Tobago, who’d worked in Point and Cedros. His siblings and his children also work in the area.

Denoon backed PNM’s Local Government campaign and is a member of the local secondary school board. Denoon retired from the Police Servive in 2015 after 39 years service, officials said.

Point incumbent Edmund Dillon and others were screened last weekend, but the executive was requested to expand their search. Point will be screened Tuesday.

POS South’s nominees will be screened this week also. Frontrunner there, PNM officials said, is top sportswoman Cleopatra Borrel. Constituency chairman Wendell Stephens is also a nominee.

The constituency–whose MP MP Marlene McDonald is on alleged corruption charges–is considered a complicated one. It was not only the constituency of first PNM leader, the late Dr Eric Williams, but the area also has hotspots. Plus, 1,700 voters from other hotspot Laventille West areas were recently shifted into POS South via boundary changes.

Diego Martin Central nominee is expected to be senate vice president Nigel de Freitas.

Nicole cold on Le Hunte’s nomination

Yesterday, La Brea incumbent Nicole Olivierre who failed to secure the majority of nominations last Thursday was asked about ex-minister Robert Le Hunte’s success in copping the majority. She said,”Nominations are in and a date for screening’s been set. My focus right now is responding to the needs of my constituents–and the need in this period is great. An MP’s work never stops.”

Le Hunte secured the support of 16 of the 19 party groups and also got majority executive support. La Brea will be screened Thursday. Le Hunte, PNM’s vice chairman, is a member of PNM’s screening team and will have to recuse himself when La Brea appears.

On Toco-Sangre Grande speculation, Works Minister Rohan Sinanan said, “At this point, I’m not seeking nomination anywhere.”

PNM’s final screenings are expected to be Tuesday and Thursday.

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