PNM candidate for Arima Central, Dr Hilary Bernard did not expect to lose in Monday’s local government by-election to her UNC opponent, Sheldon Garcia.
In an interview with Guardian Media yesterday, Bernard said she was spending the day relaxing at her Arima home. She said she had worked very hard on the campaign trail in the last few weeks.
Bernard said her first clue that the results would not go in her favour came early on in the day when she noticed the low voter turnout. The by-election was called after former councillor and Arima Mayor Lisa Julian-Morris was elected as the Member of Parliament for D’Abadie/O’Meara in the 2020 General Election.
“I felt the voting pattern was somewhat slow and a lot of people were saying they would go in the evening, I was a little concerned but my focus was just to work all the way through the end,” Bernard said yesterday.
But she said she later got a ‘feeling’ that her victory would not come by as a large margin as she hoped. She said she was shocked by the result.
“I wasn’t getting that feeling I was used to, but I put it down to maybe it was not a big a win as we had hoped for but I didn’t expect it to be a loss.”
However, Bernard said the results of both the 2019 local government election and the 2020 general election may be why the PNM did not hold onto the seat on the Arima Borough Council. In the local government election, the UNC captured the popular vote and won control of seven corporations. The PNM also won seven corporations.
“Whenever there is anything close to a national swing, we haven’t actually held on to the seat- it’s like saying Arima is traditionally PNM because there have been times when the PNM wasn’t victorious in various elections in Arima,” Bernard said.
She said a post mortem will be done on her campaign in the coming days.
Bernard said she will continue to serve her community in any way she can, assisting the elected representatives to bring change to the borough.