Foster Cummings

The PNM’s screening team meets Thursday to interview new nominees presented by La Brea and Lopinot-Bon Air West – and a decision may arrive before that about Toco-Sangre Grande.

This was confirmed on Monday by general secretary Foster Cummings in response to questions on the team’s review of Mervyn Dillon, who was initially chosen last week for the Toco seat. However, there was outcry from party groups and the team reviewed the selection.

Cummings said it was very likely “a decision on Toco-Sangre Grande could be made before Thursday. Two names have been circulating since review of the selection of Dillon began.”

On vexation in some La Brea quarters about the screening team’s rejection of former minister Robert Le Hunte’s candidacy bid, Cummings said the area’s executive was advised to do a wider search for a candidate and another screening for La Brea was scheduled for Thursday “…where we’ll screen those they bring forward and a decision will be announced.”

On reported threat of a “No Vote” response from La Brea if Le Hunte wasn’t chosen and word of a petition lobbying for Le Hunte, Cummings said he wasn’t familiar with the people making such calls. He said petitions also don’t form part of the screening process.

Asked about reports that La Brea’s executive might resign if Le Hunte wasn’t chosen, Cumming said he’d spoken to La Brea chairman Wayne Wood last Sunday and Wood didn’t mention that.

“There’s no communication from the executive on it either,” he said.

Apart from La Brea, the PNM still has about five more seats to complete: Toco-Sangre Grande, Mayaro, Arima, Naparima and Lopinot-Bon Air.

Lopinot-Bon Air’s division now has eight nominees. About seven people were screened last week, after which the unit was asked to widen its search. Party groups were concluding voting for their choices on Monday. Some groups said onetime MP Alicia Hospedales – among initial nominees – may again seek nomination.

Arima’s recommended nominee is MP Anthony Garcia. Also nominated are Dr Hillary Bernard and former MP Penny Beckles-Robinson. However, Beckles-Robinson’s in New York and there’s been no word from her on how she might be screened as protocol is for nominees to present themselves for interview.

On possible arrangements for Beckles-Robinson, Cummings said no date was set for Arima’s screening. He said there are two screenings this week and PNM plans to conclude screening sometime next week.

Mayaro’s executive was also discussing nominees yesterday to replace its initial two as one of them, Antonio Ross, withdrew as he is in Texas and couldn’t come to T&T for screening. (GA)