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Independent candidates Ariel Saunders at St Mary’s, Hindustan.

The by-election “fight” is in Hindustan/St Mary’s and Hollywood.

There will be a four-way battle for the seat of Hindustan/St Mary’s and a three-way fight for the Hollywood seat among the five by-elections taking place on January 5.

Apart from the PNM and UNC candidates contesting the by-elections, several Independent candidates are also seeking the nod from voters in those two areas.

This was confirmed yesterday by the Election and Boundaries Commission after candidates filed nomination papers with EBC Returning officers.

The EBC said there were no issues yesterday and described the entire process as “smooth sailing.”

A total of 13 candidates filed documents, EBC stated.

Only the PNM and the UNC have candidates in all five electoral districts. No other political parties fielded candidates.

However, two independent candidates filed papers for Hindustan/St. Mary’s electoral district and one independent in the Hollywood electoral district.

The nomination process for the by-elections in Trinidad was in addition to yesterday’s nomination process for candidates for the Tobago House of Assembly polls also being held January 25.

The EBC stated 28 people filed nomination papers for the THA polls.

The Trinidad by-elections are to fill vacancies left by councillors who went on to become Members of Parliament (MPs) in the August 2020 general election.

It concerns corporation seats in Hollywood (Point Fortin), Hindustan/St Mary’s ( Mayaro), Arima central (Arima), Cunupia (Chaguanas), Morne Coco/Alyce Glen (Diego Martin).

A total of 32, 351 people will vote in the five by-elections, EBC communication manager Bobbi Rogers also confirmed.

In Hindustan/St Mary’s, independent candidates Ariel Saunders and businessman Peterson Marinus Morales are contesting against PNM’s Martina Loubon-Le Gendre and UNC’s Tylon Farrell.

The seat was formerly held by UNC’s Michelle Benjamin, now Moruga MP. The PNM initially announced Shazam Lalloosingh for the seat in December but replaced him last week with Loubon- Le Gendre. The PNM hopes to win the seat which it last held in 2013 with Natalia Menden, PNM officials said.

The party particularly wants the seat after it lost Moruga in the August general elections.

In Hollywood, Independent candidate Christopher Wright (who’d screened for PNM and was rejected) is contesting against PNM’s Leslie Chang Fong and UNC’s Daniel John. The seat was held by PNM’s Kennedy Richardson, now the Point Fortin MP.

It will be a straight PNM/UNC fight in the Cunupia, Arima Central and Morne Coco/Alyce Glen seats.

The electorate in each of the five areas is as follows: Arima Central (4,147), Cunupia (8,318), Hindustan/St Mary’s ( 8,723), Hollywood ( 2,748), Morne Coco /Alyce Glen (8,415).

The EBC stated there were no reported incidents on Nomination Day.

“ All accounts from Returning Officers for the upcoming 2021 Tobago House of Assembly Elections and 2021 Local Government Bye-Elections indicate smooth sailing as prospective candidates presented themselves at their respective offices to file nomination papers for the January 25th polls.”

PNM PRO Laurel Lezama- Lee Sing said, “The PNM has duly nominated five by-election candidates and all five reported a smooth process and successfully filed their nomination papers with the respective Returning Officers.”

Lezama -Lee Sing said PNM’s 12 THA election candidates also successfully submitted their nomination papers.

UNC chairman Dave Tancoo said, “The filing of nominations was a smooth process with UNC candidates being easily able to complete the process before noon.”

CANDIDATES

HOLLYWOOD-Leslie Chang Fong (PNM), Daniel John (UNC), Christopher Wright (independent) .

CUNUPIA -Rasheed Ali (PNM) , Richard Sukdeo (UNC)

ARIMA CENTRAL -Dr Hillary Bernard (PNM), Sheldon Garcia (UNC)

HINDUSTAN/ST MARY’S – Martina Loubon-Le Gendre (PNM), Tylon Farrel (UNC), Ariel Saunders (Independent), Peterson Marinus Morales (Independent).

MORNE COCO/ALYCE GLEN – Jinnelle Schulere- Smart (PNM), John Laquis ( UNC)