Deputy Port-of-Spain Mayor Hillan Morean will assist the PNM’s prospective candidate for St Anns River North, former Defence Force member Alicia Gift, in her campaign. She is part of the mix of new faces and incumbents selected as PNM prospective candidates in Port-of-Spain, San Juan/Laventille and Diego Martin for the August 14 local government election.
Screening of nominees in the PNM-controlled Port-of-Spain City Corporation took place Monday. Gift was chosen to replace Morean who will not be seeking reelection after serving as councillor for that area for ten years.
Commenting briefly on his successor, Morean said: ”Of course I’m lending support and assisting. She’s very passionate and has shown an interest in processes over the years while I was a councillor.”
PNM officials said eight of the incumbents for the 12 Port-of-Spain electoral areas were returned and while someone was screened for St James West, no one has been confirmed as yet.
Apart from Gift, the new Port-of-Spain candidates are Raphael Bournes for Belmont South, replacing Aba Kamau and Mark Ayen for Woodbrook, who replaces June Durham.
The returning incumbents are Jameel Bisnath (St James East), Dennis Bristol (Southern Port-of-Spain), Abena Hartley (Northern Port-of-Spain), Jennell Frederick (St Anns River South), Esther Sylvester (St Anns River Central), Clint Baptiste (East Dry River,) Malouia Bourne (Belmont North/West) and Nicole Young (Belmont East).
In the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation, where screenings also took place on Monday, almost half of the PNM’s incumbents were returned. Further nominees are being sought for a seat in El Socorro/Aranguez. The PNM holds 12 of the 14 seats in that municipal corporation.
For the PNM-controlled Diego Martin Regional Corporation’s ten seats, the candidates include five incumbents. They are Avanelle Boyce (Covigne/Rich Plain), Amber Caines (Glencoe/Goodwood/La Puerta), Alina Renn (Bagatelle/Blue Basin), Keeda James (Diamond Vale) and Marcia Maslin (Petit Valley/Cocorite).
The new candidates are Kevon Williams (Chaguaramas /Pt Cumana), Samuel Carter (Belle Vue/Boissiere #1), Damain Fournellier (Moka/Boissierre #2), Chelsea Mendez (St Lucien /Cameron) and Lisa Richards-Cole (Morne Coco/Alyce Glen).
Screenings have been paused until next Monday as political leader Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is in the Bahamas for a Caricom meeting. The party’s PRO Faris Al Rawi and chairman Stuart Young did not respond to requests for comment about the screening process.
UNC completes screenings next week
UNC chairman Dave Tancoo said screenings continued yesterday for the Princes Town and Rio Claro/Mayaro Regional Corporations.
“We expect to complete screenings by the end of next week. We feel encouraged by the large number of applicants and especially by the high number of professionals, women and young persons seeking to serve in local government,” he said.
“I expect we’ll begin announcing candidates soon to allow candidates to join the teams already on the ground and I’m confident we’ll take the San Fernando Corporation and give the people of San Fernando and environs the kind of local government service they need.”
Screenings continue tomorrow for Point Fortin, in Sangre Grande and San Fernando on Saturday and in Arima and Tunapuna on Tueesday.
Most of the Progressive Empowerment Party’s (PEP) screenings should be completed by Saturday, said political leader Phillip Alexander.
“We’re contesting alone as a national party. We’re working at maximum-readiness pace, corporation by corporation. Most of the preparation was done months before so what we do and where will be based on what the party believes is the best strategy,” he said.
“The election date was an insidious choice meant to cause maximum disarray and hardship to other parties. Government must never again have the advantage of knowing the date months before everybody else. This is why a fixed election date is so important,” Alexander added.
Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) leader David Abdulah said the party is contesting solo and is finalising nominees to contest one south Trinidad regional corporation.
“Another may come into play,” he said
The National Transformation Alliance (NTA) is actively engaged in screening, political leader Gary Griffith said in a text response to questions about the party’s preparation.
“We continue to be heartened by the responses we’re receiving. We’ll introduce candidates on completion of the process,” he said.
Griffith didn’t say how many candidates the NTA will be fielding , which areas the party will contest, or comment on the possibility of contesting with another party.
Movement for National Development (MND) leader Garvin Nicholas said: ”We’re contesting (in Diego Martin) and actively searching for candidates.”
Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) leader Watson Duke didn’t immediately respond. Recently the party’s chairman, Sean Nedd, said when the date is determined PDP will “strategically” release information regarding its nominees and other plans.