Jearlean John after voting at the School for the Deaf in Cascade yesterday.

Raphael John-Lall

Foster Cummings, the People’s National Movement (PNM) candidate, is the new MP for the La Horquetta/Talparo constituency.

He defeated the United National Congress’ (UNC) Jearlean John, in what was considered one of the hotly contested seats in the 2020 General Election.

Although John narrowed the margin in the seat which was won by the PNM which garnered 2,822 more votes than the UNC in the 2015 General Election, she was unable to clinch victory. Guardian Media did not have the final election tally up to late last night.

Maxie Cuffie won the 2015 election in that constituency with 10,428 votes, while the UNC’s Jairam Seemungal got 7,606 votes.

Hundreds of PNM supporters dressed in red sang “Great is the PNM” and set off fireworks in celebration of Cummings’ victory.

Cummings, speaking at the PNM’s camp at the corner of Tumpuna Road and Churchill-Roosevelt Highway, said that the seat was never a marginal and it was always a PNM stronghold.

It was the UNC who misled the country into thinking it was a marginal, he added.

“We were on the ground and went from house to house. I offered what my vision was to the constituency.”

He said the constituency was part of the breadbasket of this country and he intends to work with the farmers in places like Wallerfield and La Horquetta.

He will also be working with young people as the Government plans to set up a youth camp in Wallerfield to allow the young people in the constituency to enhance their skills.

In a very brief address, he thanked constituents for their support and told them to go home as they should abide by the COVID-19 health protocols.

The mood at the UNC’s office in Brazil, meanwhile, was very different. When the Guardian reached around 11 pm, John was in a closed-door meeting with supporters.

She told the Guardian that she was not disappointed for herself but the entire constituency.

When asked why she felt that she lost, she admitted she does not know.

“I do not want to speculate at this time. We worked so hard to try to win the seat.”

John said she does not know what her next move in life will be and added that she has to take some much-needed rest and then decide her next move politically.

“I will not make any hasty decisions. T&T is my country and I love it.”

Maxie Cuffie held the seat from 2015 to 2020 and he had suffered health issues during his term in office. In a final statement, he had said he did not want his health issues to distract from the serious business of representing the constituency.