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PNM or UNC, same thing in Grande

Trinidad Express / sangre grande   THE People’s National Movement (PNM) may have lost the Manzanilla seat in the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation but if more voters had come out, the party would have lost even more. This was the sentiment expressed by Sangre Grande residents when the Express visited the constituency yesterday, following the local government election on Monday that saw a low voter turnout. The PNM, which previously held five of the eight seats in the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation, lost the Manzanilla seat to the United National Congress (UNC), resulting in a four-four tie. But the majority of people interviewed by the Express believe the low voter turnout worked in the PNM’s favour. “After a year in office, people are fed up of the PNM,” said Gregory Taylor, a resident of Sangre Grande North. “A lot of people didn’t vote because they just fed up and they don’t see the point. Whether it’s PNM or UNC, it’s the same thing in Sangre Grande. So people just decide to stay away. But I feel if they had come out, after the last year of PNM pressure, they would have gone with the UNC.” Cumuto resident Tarandath Jugmohan said he was one of the people who chose not to vote because of his wariness of politicians. “I didn’t stain my finger for nobody,” he declared. Jugmohan said regardless of who has control of the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation, nothing would be done for the “small man”. He voiced displeasure at the issues raised during the election campaign, saying both parties seemed more interes­ted in roti than anything else. “It was a very disappointing election,” he said. Coalmine resident Leslie Lynch said he felt the majority of the electorate had spoken by refusing to support either party. He, too, said the PNM may have lost more seats to the UNC if there was a better turnout of voters. However, he said he hoped the needs of the people would be put first. Despite both the UNC and the PNM tying in the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation, PNM chairman Franklin Khan yesterday announced the party was claiming it as a victory. Khan said the PNM had won the popular vote in that region and had the benefit of having the incumbent chairman. By his figures, the PNM won 10,399 votes in Sangre Grande to the UNC’s 9,959. However, the UNC has cautioned the PNM about claiming any victories as several recounts are pending. Level playing field? The residents who spoke with the Express all said the corporation’s chairman, Terry Rondon, should remain in the position if the PNM did in fact win the popular vote. “It is only fair,” said Trevor Blake. “But I am glad it is a four-four tie. That will level the playing field.” Speaking with the Express earlier, Rondon said he would support whoever becomes chairman. Rondon won his seat of Toco/Fishing Pond with approximately 1,425 votes to the UNC candidate’s 425. He said he would continue to serve the people.

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