While some Moruga/Tableland constituents are happy that Lovell Francis’ terms at their Member of Parliament may soon end, there are People’s National Movement (PNM) supporters who are threatening: “No Lovell, No Vote.”
Compounding supporters’ dissatisfaction at the PNM Moruga/Tableland’s constituency executive’s non-selection of Francis as its candidate was the prospect of Winston “Gypsy” Peter being his replacement.
They still see Peters, the former MP for Ortoire/Mayaro under the People’s Partnership government, as a “UNC”.
Although UNC supporters are backing local government councillor Michelle Benjamin, they see Peters as a traitor for joining the PNM.
Peters met residents of Marac and La Lune on Tuesday as he prepared for his election campaign.
“This is really bad. I do not want Gypsy to represent us. Lovell is the man. Gypsy was a UNC. He was in Ortoire/Mayaro. What did he do for us?” asked Cyril “Franco” Pope.
An elder in the Marac community, Pope said he would tell Rowley: “No Lovell, no vote.”
He was sitting under a house among relatives, who said they rather not vote if the PNM replaces Lovell with Peters. Pope said Lovell repaired roads and built houses among other things for constituents.
Clyde Santana said most people in Marac support Francis. Santana said that while Peters did not grow up in Moruga like Francis, he spent time in the community during his younger years. Santana said he has not seen Peters in the community for many years.
“Normally I do not vote, but if I have to vote and it is not Lovell, I prefer not the vote,” Santana said.
In St Mary’s, Hesper Ali expressed disappointment, saying that out of the previous MPs who represented them, Francis did the most.
“What he did for us on the Moruga Road, no Parliament or government did something like that. We are disappointed. Fine, they’re saying he is not a person who they have a good rapport with, but you can be talking to someone good, and at the end of the day you get no input and no infrastructure done at all.
“We are very hurt and disappointed. I don’t know what these people want at the end of the day,” Ali said.
As the Guardian Media team visited the constituency yesterday, work continued along the $178 million Moruga Road Rehabilitation Programme.
The serene and picturesque communities possess infrastructural remnants of the old colonial days. While some referred to them as “well-preserved”, others see it as a lack of progress.
One Gran Chemin resident, who gave his name as Sundar, pointed at the old Moruga Magistrate Courts that was closed years ago.
He said this was just an example of the lack of development in the community. He declared that he was a UNC supporter. He said that it was only the councillor for the district, Joseph Lorant, who tries to help residents.
In La Lune, Yolande Balbosa said residents really need change as they require tap water, medication and affordable food prices as there were many impoverished people in the community.
Balbosa said while Francis has helped to provide houses and roads, it was in other communities.
Maxi-Taxi driver Marlon Duntin was not surprised at the change as there were complaints that Francis was not performing well.
“If you are not performing, people will want you out. He and I played basketball together. He taught my children at Moruga Anglican right here so I know him. You cannot really satisfy people in Trinidad. We are getting our roads fixed, but you can’t satisfy the people,” Duntin said.
Francis, who pledged continued support for the PNM, believes he accomplished significantly during his tenure.
He believes the party will retain the parliamentary seat in the elections later this year.