San Fernando West MP Faris Al-Rawi, who met UNC’s candidate for the same area Sean Sobers last Sunday, has wished him the best, Sobers said yesterday.
“We bumped into each other briefly at a Carnival party last Sunday night and he (Al-Rawi) said it’s going to be a good fight and wished me all the best,” Sobers added.
Sobers, an attorney and a UNC senator, was one of two people announced as general election candidates by UNC last Sunday. Also announced was Kenya Charles for St Anns’ East.
Both candidates were UNC’s first general election selections.
Sobers said Al-Rawi’s biggest problem in San Fernando West is that he (AG) doesn’t live in the constituency and isn’t in touch with the people.
“But I live in San Fernando (East),” Sobers added, “ and I know exactly what people are going through – they’re suffering, lack of representation. All the issues affecting TT- crime, huge joblessness, social ills – are prevalent in San Fernando West, particularly rising joblessness due to Petrotrin’s closure. But our leader has ensured plans for every constituency and- yes- I have specifics for San Fernando West for its respective problems including crime.”
Sobers said he submitted his nomination for the area when the UNC opened nominations last year. But he got a fuller picture of people’s problems when he was appointed one of three Local Government election co-ordinators for the area in the December Local Government polls.
In that election, the PNM slid in the San Fernando corporation and UNC won three out of the nine areas, losing in places like Cocoyea by 31 odd votes. Sobers said, “We worked very hard and the success was due to people’s response.”
Contacted yesterday, Al-Rawi said briefly he’d call back as he couldn’t speak immediately.
UNC’s second candidate Charles is going up against the PNM’s Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly in St Ann’s East, traditionally a PNM seat.
Charles said yesterday she came from a family which had supported the PNM, but the area is now desperately in need of representation.
Charles, an office assistant at the Opposition’s Port-of-Spain office, added, “I live in St Ann’s East, so I know. People in this seat supported PNM for years but have received nil response to their needs. I joined UNC a couple of years ago and under the PP/UNC Government, my area got lights for our savannah for the first time in years. It convinced me UNC had not only the will but a way to get lights and other things underway.”
She added, “Youths in my area have no trade camps or facilities to discourage them from crime. I was the coach of the under 18 football team but members received no assistance from the MP. Simple necessities – like street lighting on the Maracas side which is dangerous without these lights – are also needed.”
Charles said she knows she’s facing a difficult task, “But I’m ready. We may start campaigning next week and we’ll walk every street and talk with everyone. I’m going with my God. I’m not afraid.”
Gadsby-Dolly didn’t immediately answer yesterday.
Meanwhile, PNM general secretary Foster Cummings reacted to the UNC’s decision no to field any candidates for the two Tobago seats. “The UNC has never ‘sent up’ any candidates in Tobago really. They’re not a national party. The UNC is a Trinidad party but the PNM is a Trinidad and Tobago party.”
The UNC-which is contesting elections alone- continues screening tomorrow, Wednesday.