Al-Rawi expects fierce competition in June 17 by-elections

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Rural Development and Local Government Faris Al-Rawi shows the media a ‘stinking toe’ fruit during the Food, Agriculture and Beverage Expo held at Gulf City Mall, La Romain on Friday. – Venessa Mohammed

Rural Development and Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi says by-elections are nothing new and the PNM is always very pleased to put its candidates into the field.

He lauded the party’s two candidates for upcoming by-elections – pastor Autly Granthume for Lengua/Indian Walk and Anderson Nanan for Quinam/ Morne Diablo.

The districts fall under the Princes Town Regional Corporation and Penal/Debe Regional Corporation (PDRC). Both are UNC-controlled corporations.

Al-Rawi recalled the circumstances of the by-elections set for June 17, saying Granthume did the unthinkable.

“It shows that there is a significant appetite in the areas that you would not think. We, of course, expect some fierce competition because shame factors are in the broken UNC to be proven. But we welcome the challenge,” Al-Rawi said.

He was referring to the local government elections in August 2023 when Granthume went up against the UNC candidate, Nicole Gopaul.

Granthume initially received 1,430 votes, while Gopaul received 1,425.

At the end of the first recount, each candidate received 1,428 votes.

Al-Rawi spoke to reporters at the Southex’s FAB expo at the Gulf City Mall in La Romaine on May 17.

Al-Rawi said Nanan had served for over 24 years at the PDRC and works there as a manager.

“He is adamant that he has a very good chance, and we will be supporting him all the way. Screening at Balisier House ended last night. The screening was fantastic,” Al-Rawi said.

“For someone like him to step forward and represent the PNM says a lot. It is a corporation that is almost 100 per cent opposition-controlled, and it has always been.

“So, to have someone who comes from the establishment step forward and say, ‘I am willing to be part of the PNM,’ for us as a political party, is a big statement in a big way.”

Al-Rawi said the party was aware that certain areas were marginal, and others were considered “forgone conclusions, one way or another.”

He added, “Numbers speak for themselves. This is about democracy at work. Whatever the results are going to be, the corporations will stay the same. The status quo remains seven-seven. “

On voter turnout, Al-Rawi expects it to be low, as has been the case in the past.

“It really is a process that is reflexive. If you wanted a dipstick that mattered, the dipstick would be what the turnout looks like, not so much the result.”