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Winston 'Gypsy' Peters

“I’m a born survivor – I was born to survive.”

With that line, National Carnival Commission chairman Winston ‘Gypsy’ Peters yesterday celebrated the People’s National Movement’s (PNM’s) official announcement of his selection as the party’s Moruga-Tableland candidate.

The selection was officially announced yesterday by PNM Public Relations Officer Laurel Lezama-Lee Sing. She also announced the selection of Rebecca Deonarine as the candidate for the Siparia constituency.

The PNM also continued screening last night for several areas.

Peters is a former United National Congress (UNC) Member of Parliament for Mayaro.

He wasn’t chosen by the UNC for 2015 elections but will now be contesting against UNC’s Moruga candidate Michelle Benjamin.

Yesterday’s official announcement on Peters came five days after he was screened by the PNM’s screening team last Thursday. No decision was given then, lending to speculation on whether he’d actually be chosen.

However, the official selection of Peters has made the PNM-UNC battle for Moruga official, and it’s also official confirmation that incumbent MP Lovell Francis will be a one-term MP.

Peters said yesterday he had reached out to Francis last Sunday and Monday and Francis asked him to text him.

On whether Francis’ help may be forthcoming for the campaign, Peters said he was awaiting Francis’ reply to his text message.

He said he hoped all would be on board for the campaign.

“I don’t think people have to be asked. It’s elections, we all work… in the last election I helped Dr Francis. But there’s no bad blood here, we’re all working for one common purpose which is to win the election and the Moruga constituency and keep T&T rolling forward positively,” he said.

Peters who has many relatives in Moruga, also said he’d been walking through parts of the constituency last weekend and had also met last week with protestors who recently staged a demonstration against his nomination.

“We spoke and I understood their position. People will always be attached to certain people and when there’s change, people may react as they’ve become accustomed to others. I understand it’s an emotional issue. But Kizzy (one of the protestors) and others apologised to me and T&T and I told them I understood their position – all is forgiven.”

“I’ve also been able to speak to the youths, they know this is the same party and we’re going to work on their goals and ensure PNM’s returned to Government. Whatever the communities’ plans are, I’m here to represent.”

On whether Peters is prepared to enter Opposition benches if the PNM’s election results happen to go that way, he replied, “I’m PNM and I go wherever the party goes- but PNM is not going into Opposition.”

His last word was for the UNC, “I’ve never paid attention to the innuendo/allegation the UNC had about me so I have nothing to overcome there.”