?People's National Movement (PNM) representatives are eyeing 23 seats in the upcoming general election. The target is three fewer than what the party won in the 2007 poll. The PNM captured 26 seats, while the United National Congress-Alliance got 15. While constituents of Arima and St Ann's East have threatened to refrain from voting because their candidates were rejected, top party sources who are part of the election machinery revealed to Sunday Guardian that the tough seats to bring home the PNM are San Juan/Barataria, Pointe-a-Pierre, and Princes Town South/Tableland. "It is going to be a slim, slim fight. We are seeing between 22 to 23 seats; and we are not taking any chances with the two Tobago seats. There is no concern over Arima and St Ann's East; change is sometimes good. It is going to be a tight race, but we are going to win," the source said."
With regards to the rejection of MPs Pennelope Beckles-Robinson, Anthony Roberts and Rennie Dumas, a well-placed source said a directive from the hierarchy was that new faces made a difference. "Since the last snap election, there has been speculation on a revolt within the party. There would have been some animosity following the removal of Roberts as a Cabinet minister. "He was performing, and no explanation was given for him being dropped. With regards to Beckles-Robinson, she was being incrementally edged out since the allocation of the last Cabinet. Deputy speaker is a non-post. When Rahael was offered the post, he point-blank turned it down and opted to grow tomatoes when he accepted the post of Minister of Agriculture."
Another party source, however, expressed shock over the withdrawal of Dumas from the election race. "There have been rumours...What I can say for sure he was forced out." Asked if incumbent Diego Martin West MP Keith Rowley had been accepted back into the fold, the source said Rowley had a key part to play in the party's victory. "His acceptance as a candidate has cemented the party's victory. I am absolutely sure if a poll is done now, it will show support of the party has increased by five per cent."