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PNM candidate for La Harquetta /Talparo, Foster Cummings, is greeted by former candidate for Port-of-Spain South, Cleopatra Borel, after he filed his nomination papers, at the La Horquetta Regional Complex, La Horquetta.

Unemployment among young people has been highlighted as the major issue affecting the La Horquetta/Talparo constituency.

People’s National Movement (PNM) candidate Foster Cummings and United National Congress (UNC) candidate Jearlean John both touched on the issue while addressing supporters after filing their nomination papers for August 10 General Election at the La Horquetta Regional Complex yesterday.

“Well, I imagine it is an islandwide thing, everyone wants jobs. We are going to offer holistic development for all the people in La Horquetta/Talparo,” Cummings said.

“We have an action plan and as soon as I am elected and the government takes office because the PNM will win the election, we are going to do everything it takes to develop this constituency.”

Cummings added that counselling, career development and skills training would be utilised during the process.

John suggested that the current Government’s failure to address the issue during their last term and in previous ones may have contributed to crime in areas of the constituency.

“This is about providing jobs, training and sustainability. You have three generations living in a house that is 800 square feet or 1,000 square feet. That does not say anything for the social wellbeing of a person, that is why we have many young guys and girls finding themselves at the side of the road,” John said.

She claimed that she would attempt to address this issue, as well as long-standing infrastructure issues in segments of the constituency, once she is elected.

Both Cummings and John were also confident of securing the seat for their parties.

“This is a PNM seat. Contrary to the view expressed by some that it is marginal, we won this seat on the last occasion by almost 3,000 votes and it is my intention to ensure that the La Horquetta/Talparo seat is retained by the People’s National Movement,” Cummings said.

John meanwhile said: “I feel very good and elated that they (the supporters) know we are going to win this seat. They are not guessing. We have done the work.”

The filings at the office were relatively incident-free, with Cummings and his entourage arriving first around 10 am and John’s arriving shortly after Cummings’ team had left to continue their tour of the area.

Both parties utilised music trucks and tassa drummers but Cummings’ team also included the Laventille Rhythm Section and a parang band. Both candidates were accompanied by some of their political colleagues who are not contesting this election. Cummings was flanked by outgoing Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, while outgoing Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial was spotted amongst John’s supporters. Cummings arrived on foot while John arrived in an SUV driven by former UNC senator Gerald Ramdeen.

While most supporters wore masks and attempted to practice social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the latter was almost impossible due to the logistics in the area and the quantum of supporters present.