People’s National Movement’s Moruga MP Lovell Francis’ future with the seat is hanging in the balance. He’s now among five nominees vying to contest the seat but PNM’s Moruga executive recently recommended someone else.
And after Moruga-Tableland nominees were screened by the PNM last Saturday, no decision was announced. Instead, officials from the unit were asked to meet with party executive officials today.
Also, PNM’s San Fernando East executive is also expected to hear from party officials today on if Brian Manning or incumbent Randall Mitchell will be their general election candidate or if another effort may be needed. Mitchell’s team had challenged Manning’s sole selection as the constituency candidate due to what they claimed was an election discrepancy during the San Fernando East candidate voting process on Friday. Manning heard nothing on his situation up to yesterday.
This was the feedback yesterday from PNM executive officials after nominees for Moruga-Tableland, San Fernando East and West and several other seats were screened by the PNM last Saturday.
It was the latest batch of nominees after PNM frontline incumbents for various East West corridor seats were screened and approved last Thursday.
In last Saturday’s exercise, officials said nominees were screened for Moruga-Tableland (five including MP Francis), San Fernando East (Manning and Mitchell) and West (sole nominee incumbent MP Faris Al-Rawi), Point Fortin (three including incumbent Edmund Dillon).
Al- Rawi was approved for the seat again, PNM San Fernando East campaign manager Terrence Beepath said.
But PNM officials said most other constituencies screened were told they will be informed of their situation today.
Among those expected to be addressed today is Morug-Tableland.
The PNM won the seat in 2015 with 500-plus votes. At that time, Francis was backed and recommended for the candidacy by the executive.
But in this round officials said the executive and majority of party groups hadn’t recommended Francis but a retired teacher who had worked on Francis’ campaign in 2015 and had strong following in the area. There are 28 party groups.
Other nominees included a former councillor, young activist and two others (all male).
PNM officials said it was felt that Francis hadn’t been “fully effective” in the term though they said he’d been excellent with getting infrastructural development in the seat.
They, however, noted when Francis entered as MP, the area had two councillors and two aldermen on the Princes Town Corporation but this later slid down.
In 2019 elections, the party lost all councillors in that area and only got one alderman. Officials are concerned he “wasn’t fully connected with the constituency’s political structure.”
“There were also claims about attendance at constituency and executive meetings. Certain polls were also done in the area that showed the seat wasn’t getting the support,” they added.
Moruga chairman’s David Trim declined comment, only saying the screening committee held the ultimate responsibility to choose a candidate they had confidence in to ensure victory at the polls.
Francis didn’t immediately answer calls yesterday. PNM general secretary Foster Cummings also didn’t answer calls and text messages yesterday.