There were mixed reactions in La Horquetta/ Talparo yesterday to news that Member of Parliament for the area, Maxie Cuffie, has opted out of the upcoming General Elections.
Cuffie, who in a statement to his constituents hours earlier pledged his commitment to represent the area until the end of his tenure, said he did not want his medical condition to become a distraction in the future. However, some felt the former Communications Minister had dropped the ball before his medical condition.
In Talparo, residents said calls to address water woes and other issues seemingly fell on deaf ears.
“I would say I’ve never seen him for the years he has been in the service of the people and haven’t really done anything for the service of the people. We have been fighting up for water for years upon years now, nothing,” one fruit vendor said.
He said concerns over Cuffie’s representation predated his medical situation.
“I know the man is a sick man but Maxie Cuffie hasn’t really done anything for us.”
A resident in La Horquetta believed Cuffie had done his best despite his challenges.
“At least they should give him a five, because his condition, and his brains you know although he supposed to be there, I would’ve liked him to go back up, but he’s a working man.”
In 2017, the former Communications Minister was forced to seek medical treatment abroad after suffering a stroke.
It cost the state nearly $2.5 million.
In his statement, Cuffie cited his health condition as a determining factor not to re-contest the seat where he had beaten the People’s Partnership’s Jairam Seemungal at the 2015 polls.
Speaking to Guardian Media limited via skype, political analyst Dr Winford James said the challenges of a General Election would have been too much for Cuffie to endure.
“I don’t know the extent to which the problem still remains with him, but he was good enough to be given a job, but I don’t think he could have gone through the rigours of another electoral campaign.”
Dr James maintained Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley made the right decision not to remove Cuffie from office and trigger a by-election during his health dilemma.
Meanwhile, when contacted PNM’s public relations officer Laurel Lezama Lee Sing said candidates were yet to be screened for the seat now about to be vacated by Cuffie.