Former chairman of the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation (SGRC) Terry Rondon is blaming the People’s National Movement (PNM) poor choice of (SGRC) candidates for their defeat at the December 2 polls.
Rondon believes the bad decisions by the party gave the United National Congress (UNC) the edge to wrest control of the SGRC which the PNM won in 2016.
The UNC captured five seats with the PNM winning Valencia, Sangre Grande Northeast and Valencia East/Toco districts.
Expressing disappointment at the results, Rondon who won the Valencia East/Toco seat against his UNC rival Kerwyn Charles admitted that one mistake the PNM made was not putting the right candidates to fight their opponent.
He said party groups and MPs have to stop bringing “their friends and family” to be screened at Balisier House as candidates.
Rondon said the minute an individual is selected to contest an election they forget about serving the people and instead focus on their full-time jobs.
“I call on party groups to stop picking your favourites. It’s time the electorate select the candidate of their choice....someone they have confidence in...people who are committed to doing the job. The PNM has to go out in the communities and find out from the people who they want represent them. This cannot be done at Balisier House. Let the hierarchy of the party send out their scouts and listen to the voice of the people,” he said.
The PNM, Rondon said, also failed to seek his approval of candidates.
“I never had the opportunity to recommend anybody.”
Rondon said for an incumbent to lose their seat is an indictment on their poor performance and lack of representation during their term in office.
“It means they did not do their homework in the last three years. We have to do our work by going back to the drawing board and see where we went wrong. What is hurting me, Sangre Grande is a PNM town,” Rondon said.
He insisted that the PNM should not have been defeated.
Questioned if the PNM made a grave mistake by reselecting some of their 2016 councillors to contest Monday’s polls, Rondon said yes, but stopped short of calling names.
He said the party did not listen for which they were now paying a heavy price.
“I will tell it as it is. We have to wake up and smell the coffee. My work cannot be going down the drain. I worked really hard this election. I am disappointed, yes.”
Rondon said he was baffled as to how the PNM lost the marginal Sangre Grande Northwest seat which they fought hard to retain.
Leading up to the election, burgesses in this electoral district benefitted from paving of several streets, but it was not enough to woo voters.
The PNM had anticipated winning six seats in the SGRC based on their strong campaigning and support base.
“I was looking at six or seven seats.”
The hype of PNM supporters in Sangre Grande during campaigning, Rondon said backfired on them.
“Anytime we lose it is hard. I say it again crowd don’t win elections.”
Rondon said it is time for the PNM to do some introspection.
He said he intends to raise the selection of candidates with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley when next they meet.
“We got to sit down. We have to see where we went wrong and we have to correct it. We have a general election to fight in a couple of months.”
Once the errors are corrected and the right candidate is chosen, Rondon is optimistic the PNM can bring home victory for the Toco/Sangre Grande constituency in the 2020 general election.