Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley last night put a positive spin on the PNM’s performance in the Local Government Elections. Speaking to supporters at the party’s Balisier House headquarters after the result showed a 7-7 tie for the 14 regional corporations, he declared that the party had won the most seats, capturing 71 of the 139 electoral districts.
However, in the two marginal corporations, Sangre Grande and Siparia, the PNM was defeated by the UNC, winning just three seats each to the UNC’s five.
Rowley, who described the campaign as difficult, expressed disappointment that the party did not pick up seats “in one or two areas where we had hoped to improve our position. But while we are disappointed we did not pick up in that area, which was the Siparia effort, we are not surprised. We are quite pleased that we have in fact won the most seats.”
Rowley thanked supporters who campaigned, rallied and voted for his party, declaring they had won outright in Arima, Diego Martin, Port of Spain, Point Fortin. The party won six of the nine seats in San Fernando, held an eleven to five edge in Tunapuna/Piarco, while in San Juan/Laventille they won 13 to one.
“So we have won seven corporations in very much similar vain in 2016 while we have dropped a couple of seats in between here and there,” he said.
Rowley said the PNM did remarkably well to maintain their position.
“We had to fight hard to maintain our position. We would have been more excited it we had made some breakthroughs,” he said.
In 2016, the PNM was victorious in Arima, Port-of-Spain, Diego Martin, Point Fortin, San Fernando, San Juan/Laventille, Tunapuna/Piarco and Sangre Grande, while the UNC won Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo, Penal/Debe, Chaguanas, Mayaro/Rio Claro, Princes Town and Siparia.
There was a 4-4 tie between the UNC and PNM for the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation, with Terry Rondon using his casting vote to win control. Siparia was also a neck-and-neck race with the PNM capturing four seats and the UNC five.
Leading up the election, political observers and pundits predicted a tight race for the two marginal corporations.
In San Fernando, the PNM lost some ground to the UNC as they were unsuccessful in Marabella West and South along with Les Effort. They previously held eight of the nine seats but now hold six.
Rowley said the party might ask for a recount in the Cocoyea/Tarouba district where its candidate Theresa Lynch got 1043 votes—just one more than the UNC candidate.