Foster Cummings

Gail Alexander

The PNM has approved party general secretary Foster Cummings to contest the La Horquetta-Talparo seat for upcoming elections and incumbent D’Abadie-O’Meara MP Ancil Antoine and St Ann’s’ East MP Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly have also been approved by the party to contest their respective constituencies again.

PNM public relations officer Laurel Lezama-Lee Sing confirmed that yesterday after nominees for La Horquetta-Talparo, D’Abadie O’Meara, St Ann’s East and other areas were screened on Tuesday.

Cummings has been chosen after La Horquetta MP Maxie Cuffie recently announced he was stepping down from politics. The Opposition UNC hasn’t announced any candidate yet for La Horquetta but UNC deputy Jearlean John was tipped last year to contest it.

The PNM’s St Ann’s East MP Gadsby-Dolly won the seat in 2015 general elections. Contesting against her in upcoming 2020 polls will be UNC’s St Ann’s’ East candidate, Kenya Charles. Antoine who was removed as Public Utilities Minister in 2016, remained a backbencher since then.

Lezama- Lee Singh also said PNM chose Sharon Baboolal for Princes Town and Leela Aneela Ramoutar for Oropouche East.

The Lopinot Bon Air West and Mayaro units were sent back to widen their search for nominees.

The Lopinot Bon Air West nominees screened Tuesday were onetime MP Alicia Hospedales, former senator Alisha Roman, unit chairman Rudolph Borneo, former councillor Tovalyn Bartholomew-Sandy and Kava Richardson.

Mayaro nominees were Antonia Ross and Bunny Mahabirsingh.

The PNM’s now screened and approved candidates for the majority of the 41 constituencies. Screening continues today for nominees in La Brea, Port-of-Spain South, Point Fortin, Diego Martin Central and Toco-Manzanilla.

The Port-of-Spain South nominees include constituency executive chairman Wendell Stephens and Brian Lewis.

Both PNM members and the Opposition UNC are waiting to see if incumbent Marlene McDonald, now before the courts on alleged corruption charges, is also nominated and screened.

She hasn’t commented on reports that she submitted a letter of consent to be nominated. McDonald who’s said to be a very good MP was hired and fired from Government three times. Last year she was slapped with alleged corruption charges along with several other people.

In La Brea, former minister Robert Le Hunte, who resigned from Government two weeks ago over “professional conflict” on policy, will be screened with MP Nicole Ollivierre. He received most of the party group and executive team’s support.

Le Hunte, in the constituency yesterday, said, “I’ve been meeting constituents, I met councillors recently on flooding issues. I did a video which states my plans for La Brea. I’m strongly compelled to give back to this area where I was born. I have no animosity for anyone – my track record speaks for itself.“

Diego Martin Central nominees are Senate vice-president Nigel de Freitas, the Diego Martin Regional Corporation head Simon de Nobrega, attorney Michelle Benjamin and former councillor Keron Seebaran, it was confirmed.

No recommendation on a nominee was made to the party. The unit is leaving the matter solely up to the screening team.

The same situation applies in Toco-Manzanilla. Nominees are incumbent Glenda Jennings-Smith, cricket star Mervyn Dillon, pastor Courtney Francois, David Guy, Loren Heath, alderman Roger Munroe.

For Point Fortin, the constituency executive, its youth league and majority of party groups, nine, are backing retired assistant police commissioner Donald Denoon.

The executive also has nominations from two councillors who got support from one party group each. The executive was awaiting word yesterday whether mayor Kennedy Richardson would submit a nomination.

Arima on Monday- Penny wants to serve

Although final screenings were expected to be completed today, Arima’s three nominees will be screened on Monday.

They are – in order of the support they received from groups and constituency executive – current MP Anthony Garcia, Dr Hillary Bernard and former MP Penny Beckles-Robinson.

Beckles-Robinson was asked by Guardian Media about the majority support for Garcia and the possibility that some high-quality nominees in one seat may be shifted to contest other seats. She said she had no comment, “Except for the fact that I’m looking forward to the opportunity to serve again.”

Nominees for the two Tobago seats will also be screened ahead. The PNM’s screening team and Tobago Council members will interview nominees, it’s confirmed.

The Tobago East nominees are incumbent MP Ayanna Webster as well Dr Kern Johnson, Crystal Orr, Brian Nurse and Juliet Pope. The Tobago West’s unit stated that a consent letter for nomination was only received from MP Shamfa Cudjoe. A pilot’s name was initially heard, but officials said no consent letter was received. (Gail Alexander)