Trinidad – Shake-up
Mayaro candidate changed at last minute
PORT OF SPAIN –– In a surprise move last night, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar sacked the previously announced candidate for Mayaro, Roger Morales, and announced a new replacement: businessman Rushton Paray. He was one of five people screened for the marginal Mayaro seat, previously held by Winston Gypsy Peters.
Paray, who worked with Peters closely during his campaign, said his main priorities for the constituency were upgrading infrastructure and providing educational opportunities for the people of the rural constituency.
After his name was announced as a candidate for Mayaro, a video surfaced on social media with him criticizing possible corruption in the government.
Another puzzling announcement was that of Dr Bhoe Tewarie, who will be contesting the Caroni Central seat under a United National Congress (UNC) ticket. Tewarie, a former principal of the University of the West Indies, has always been an
ardent Congress of the People (COP) supporter.
Weeks before the election, Tewarie said he was willing to serve on any political party.
Last night, COP political leader Prakash Ramadhar, who is contesting the St Augustine seat, congratulated Tewarie even though he had left the folds of the COP, in favour of the UNC. The COP, under Ramadhar, also had the critical marginals of Tunapuna and San Fernando West go over to the UNC.
The COP, which contested 13 seats in the 2010 general election, will now contest eight.
Several other people close to Persad-Bissessar were also given the nod for United National Congress safe seats. These included Barry Padarath, Persad-Bissessar’s personal assistant who was selected to contest the seat of Princes Town. That seat was previously held by Nizam Baksh, a politician who served under the Basdeo Panday administration.
Another supporter Ramesh Ramnanan, a Petrotrin worker of Rousillac, got the nod for La Brea, while activist and former UWI Guild president Ravi Ratiram will contest the marginal seat of Point Fortin.
Following its announcement on Friday night of 24 confirmed candidates, the UNC will now contest 28 of the 41 seats, while its partners will share the remaining 13 seats.
The three National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) candidates Embau Moheni, Kathy Ann Francis and Malcolm Kernahan will contest the Diego Martin Central, Laventille East/Morvant and the Laventille/West seats respectively, while the two TOP candidates Joseph Frederick and Natasha Second will contest the Tobago East and West seats.