With the dissolution of Parliament bringing the end of Nicole Oliverre’s status as an MP, former Fyzabad MP Dr Lackram Bodoe says this now presents the United National Congress (UNC) with an opportunity to claim the La Brea constituency in next month’s general election.
Bodoe spoke to journalists at the opening of the Quarry Village Community Centre in Siparia on Saturday. While the UNC has never won the seat, Bodoe said the campaign coupled with Victor Robert’s candidacy gives his party a good chance.
“First of all, I want to thank the outgoing member of Parliament for La Brea. During the course of my five years, we have worked closely together, mainly because of our constituencies border each other and we have had a very good working relationship. Even though she is my political opponent, it is sad to see her go.
“Now that, of course, brings the constituency of La Brea within reach of the United National Congress. There is a 2000 vote difference I believe that separates us, but with the work that has been going on the ground with the choice of candidate and the overall support for the United National Congress, we believe, that we have a fantastic chance now of taking this seat back into the folds of the United National Congress,” Bodoe said.
In the 2015 general election, Olivierre gathered 11,558 votes for the PNM while the UNC’s Ramish Ramanand got 5,735. The Independent Liberal Party’s Keifing Chance got 117 votes.
Despite Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley demoting Olivierre from Minister of Energy and Energy Industries to Parliamentary Secretary within the same Ministry, she is advising her constituents to vote for the PNM.
“I would like to say to the other constituents in La Brea that government is a continuance. Once you continue to support the People’s National Movement, as I pass the baton onto another candidate, you can rest assured that all the work that I have started, all the promises I have made, the ones that were not delivered in this term will certainly be delivered within the next term with the PNM in government,” Olivierre said.
Although the sod-turning ceremony for the $11 million community centre happened three years ago, Minister of Community, Culture and the Arts Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said the opening had nothing to do with election.
Gadsby-Dolly said three years was a reasonable timeframe, considering the issues with COVID-19.
“A government is in place to serve for five years. Therefore, you go down to the last time of your service. You do not stop working a year before and say ‘well it is too close to an election, so we will just stop working now’. You do not do that and the fact that this started three years ago, obviously indicates that the projects are not immediate.
“We would not have gotten up yesterday and say ‘let us open a community centre today because elections are tomorrow. Certainly, we deliver the projects when they come to fruition, and it takes a lot of years in the planning,” Gadsby-Dolly said.
She said residents can now use the centre to access the Ministry’s Community Education Programme which offers more than 40 courses. Residents can use it for weddings, parties, seminars and training workshops.
Olivierre said she was happy as the community waited 65 years for the Centre. Although it does not fall within the Fyzabad constituency, Bodoe said it would serve those residents. He said planning for this Centre began back in 1985.