Another political party is eyeing the marginal constituency of San Fernando West making it a five-way race for that seat so far.
It’s the only seat the Valmiki “Val” Ramsingh of the National Party will be contesting in the August 10 general election.
While Ramsingh is well known in the Carnival arena as the bandleader of the popular D Blue Boys J’Ouvert band, he is no stranger to politics.
He was part of Kama Maharaj’s campaign team in 1995. He also served as a director on a State board and has a wealth of experience on the international marketing and management.
“Having been involved in the UNC and when Kamla took over I did not like what I was seeing there and my conscience began bothering me that I could not be part of it and I said okay I wouldn’t bother with politics again. Then somebody told me you have too much experience and too much to offer to stay out of politics,” he said in an interview.
He launched his political party in 2017 under the slogan Change, not Exchange and began underground campaigning.
Even though several candidates will be fighting for this seat which is currently held by the PNM, he believes his only competition is the PNM and the UNC.
“I feel I have the bigger edge being a San Fernandian, one. Two, being involved in J’Ouvert, in pan. I am a microbiologist by profession. I have helped a pile of people,” he said.
Ramsingh said he has been receiving outpouring support during his campaign on the ground.
He said, “I really did not know I have so much support. Ninety per cent of the people I have walked and met so far have indicated that they will vote for change.”
To his critics, he said, “If there ever were a time for a third party to get into Parliament this is the year because the PNM did such great job of bad talking the UNC for five years. Residual in the minds of the people are still all of what the UNC did because the PNM bad talk the UNC so much and then their time came and they did their bunch of nonsense.”
If he wins the seat one of the major issues he will be tacking in the constituency is the water woes in the community.
Ramsingh said he is also focussing on reviving the community spirit in San Fernando and the commencement of the car park for the San Fernando General Hospital.
He also envisions major projects for the southern city such as a solar panel manufacturing company at Pointe-a-Pierre and an airport at Brian Lara Stadium, as well as an agro-processing industry.
The other candidates who have thrown their hat into the ring for the San Fernando West Seat thus far are UNC’s Sean Sobers, PNM’s Faris Al-Rawi, Progressive Party’s Nikoli Edwards and Progressive Empowerment Party’s Benison Jagessar.