Cleopatra Borel

The People’s National Movement’s Port-of-Spain South unit is expected to meet the party leadership on Tuesday (June 23) regarding candidate Cleopatra Borel, while the La Brea constituency hopes to finally have a candidate selected then as well.

This was confirmed by officials of each constituency executive on Sunday.

The seven nominees for La Brea will be screened at 5 pm on Tuesday, La Brea executive Wayne Wood confirmed. Screening, which was initially to have been done last Saturday, was pushed to tomorrow since the screening team’s leader—Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley—was in Tobago last Saturday.

Sources have tipped North Central Regional Health Authority chairman Steve De Las to be given the nod. He’s been recommended and has strong support, while Steve McLetchie has also been recommended. Other La Brea officials said they firmly expect to have a candidate selected this week.

La Brea is the last seat for which a candidate must be completed. The PNM’s other candidates are all “in the field” campaigning.

That is, save for PoS South’s Borel. After she was selected on May 28, the PoS South executive wrote the party leadership on May 31 expressing disenchantment. They expressed concern that she didn’t know the area, they didn’t know her and that a candidate was being “foisted” on the executive. The unit’s chairman, Wendell Stephens, was a leading nominee to replace incumbent Marlene McDonald but he wasn’t selected.

When there was no reply from the leadership on the unit’s letter—save a reported comment that Borel was the candidate chosen—the executive wrote a second letter to the party last Tuesday. There was no reply either. But PNM general secretary Foster Cummings was reported to have subsequently said Borel was nominated, had party group support and was selected after screening.

At the same time, PoS North chairman Chinua Alleyne was appointed election co-ordinator for both PoS North and South. He was one of 18 co-ordinators appointed by the party for constituencies.

Last Saturday, Alleyne met members of the area’s executive and Borel. But PoS South officials said only “some” members of the executive attended the meeting. Among those absent was Stephens, they admitted. However, they said the meeting was cordial and was a start on the issue. They described the unit as being “well on the way to campaigning.”

The executive also explained that a meeting has been secured by the executive’s leadership with the PNM leadership this week.

While it was initially planned for Thursday, it has been brought forward to tomorrow.

As a result, they said, “This meeting with the party leader and other PNM leadership officials and the top PoS South executive officials should bring finality to our matter. We expect the situation will be resolved and the unit will—as it always does—move forward.”

They added that after last Saturday’s meeting, Borel’s walkbouts in the constituency were projected to begin this week. Stephens didn’t reply to calls yesterday.

UNC completes screening

Meanwhile, the United National Congress yesterday confirmed that the party had completed screening all of its remaining nominees—about 19—last Friday.

The UNC has announced about 16 candidates so far. Party officials said more may be announced ahead, adding they are working towards a possible general election date of September 7.

Other party sources say about half of the UNC’s current 18-member line-up will be changed, including frontline MPs. The party is only fielding the 39 Trinidad seats but none in Tobago. The UNC is targetting Toco/Sangre Grande, Moruga, Tunapuna, St Joseph, San Fernando West and La Horquetta/Talparo. The UNC’s co-ordinator for La Horquetta/Talparo, deputy leader Jearlean John, who has been “working it” since last year, is tipped to be the candidate there.