Former local and international footballer David Nahkid yesterday blasted the People’s National Movement (PNM) for what he sees as its poor representation of the people of Tunapuna over the past 43 years.
“The People’s National Movement always say ‘great is the PNM and never great is T&T. You realise that? They have always been more about party than people,” Nahkid said in a telephone interview yesterday.
“Forty-three years out of 58 years, this is a PNM government, now and before that has never sought to uplift the national community out of that race division,” Nahkid said.
The outspoken Nahkid was selected to contest the Tunapuna seat by the United National Congress (UNC).
Nahkid said that in Tunapuna, the people faced a lack of food security and a lack of opportunity and he blamed the PNM.
The UNC won the marginal seat twice in the past 20 years, in 2000 Mervyn Assam won the seat for the UNC and in 2010 when the Kamla Persad-Bissessar-led People’s Partnership (PP) won the General Elections, Winston Dookeran won the Tunapuna constituency for the PP.
Nahkid said he decided to enter the race after watching what was happening in the country.
“I felt that it was time to not only write about it and speak about it but to do something about it,” he said.
He said that Tunapuna was “immensely under-represented”.
“When you pass through the constituency of Tunapuna you can very much feel like it was 30 years ago, nothing has changed. The traffic is worse, the conditions at the market is the same, the roads are terrible, no water, Caura hospital same,” he said.
He said the neglect was not all the fault of the current Member for Parliament, Esmond Forde.
“The PNM won there comfortably in the last elections and they left the representative without any kind of resources to serve the community,” he said.
“They truly believe with their arrogance that they can do nothing for that community and just hope that by playing the race card, they rely on the African vote,” he said.
“Other than the Tunapuna police station name one thing that you know about Tunapuna,” he asked.
“There is a lot of dirty looking shops and infrastructure,” he said.
“You never feel good passing through Tunapuna, not like how you feel when you pass through Diego Martin or Santa Cruz, some of the communities that have resources allocated to it,” Nahkid said.
Speaking on the issue of race politics, Nahkid said the PNM does not represent the ethnicity of the T&T people.
“Look at the PNM now, no ministers representing the African identity, a couple East Indians for cosmetics and window dressing but most of the resources have been directed towards the one per cent and towards the people that are in power and corrupt with it,” he said.
Back in 2005 Nahkid made somewhat disparaging comments about the Syrian community in T&T. Those statements were reported to be racially charged.
At that time the advisor to T&T Football Federation Jack Warner issued a statement distancing himself and the group from Nahkid’s statement.
Fifteen years later, Nahkid is unapologetic.
“Let’s be clear, there is no race called the Syrian, that’s one. That makes no sense,” he said.
“I did not make racist comments against the Syrian community, I made statements against certain elements in the Syrian community,” he said.
Nahkid said that because the Government has failed to lift people out of poverty, some disenfranchised youths turned to selling drugs.
“That has fueled a lot of the killings in the East/West corridor and who has facilitated that? The PNM government by not giving enough resources along the East/West corridor,” he said.
“People feel they have no hope so they go for things that bring them quick money,” he said.
He said that by accepting him as a candidate, the UNC has demonstrated that they are ready for that fight.
“When you have a candidate like David Nahkid, you know there’s going to be fire,” he said.
Guardian Media called and messaged current MP for the area, Esmond Forde for comment on Nahkid’s selection but he did not respond.