San Fernando East constituents yesterday had mixed reactions to Brian Manning, the son of the late prime minister and parliamentary representative for the area Patrick Manning, getting the majority support from the constituency’s executive to contest the seat.
Some felt Manning ought to be given a chance while others believed incumbent MP Randall Mitchell had done a good job and Manning should not be selected on his father’s strength. Manning’s father had represented the constituency for 44 unbroken years.
The younger Manning was able to secure 24 votes while the other ten went to Mitchell in the constituency executive election. However, Mitchell’s team challenged the decision ahead of Saturday’s screening by the PNM national screening committee.
PNM sources in San Fernando East told Guardian Media that Mitchell’s camp believes that the ballot box was tampered with and took a petition to the screening committee with the signatures of the majority of the constituency’s executive to show that Mitchell got the most votes. Both men were thus screened on Saturday and a decision on who will get the nod is expected to be made today.
None of the constituents Guardian spoke with was even aware that the executive had voted on a candidate last Friday.
A resident from the Mon Repos HDC buildings, who did not want to be named, said she was pleased with Mitchell’s representation but she knew nothing about Manning.
But two other residents from Mon Repos felt the opposite way.
Emmanuel Alexis said Mitchell did not represent the area and the people “to the full hundred.”
He complained about the condition of the roads and the play park and ground, which is overgrown with bush.
“His (Manning) dad did very good with his timing in this constituency, God rest his soul. So I say give the son a chance. He might do good like the dad,” Alexis said.
Another resident, Kevon Luke, added, “We could give him (Manning) a try and we could see what going on. He have the experience from his father.”
But Pleasantville resident Marlon Waldrop said he was supporting Mitchell.
“Brian Manning was lost so long, he just appear just so. He can’t just win we vote just so, he have to come better than that to win people’s vote. Not because he is Patrick Manning’s son, he not Augustus Manning so he can’t come and win people vote just like that,” Waldrop said.
Pleasantville resident Clyde Alexander, 62, expressed his dissatisfaction with Mitchell’s representation.
“This is news to me that Manning son is going up as a candidate, but I will tell you something, Randall Mitchell, he did nothing for San Fernando East…Randall Mitchell is a waste of time.”
Alexander said he was close with Patrick Manning and his son had his support.
However, he said, “Anybody could tell you that when a candidate wins the seat, the constituents do not see their MP. They does just disappear like magicians.”
Asha Ramcharitar, 59, of Corinth Settlement, Ste Madeleine, complained that she would only see her MP when he wanted votes.
“I think I done vote for the rest of my life because everybody come, nobody is help you,” lamented Ramcharitar who added, “Not a vote for nobody so help me God.”