PNM D’Abadie/O’Meara candidate and Arima mayor Lisa Morris-Julian says she will be focusing on developmental projects and programmes to assist and improve the lives of young people.
She told the media, during her first walkabout through Reid Lane D’Abadie, on Wednesday evening, “We are going to be working more with the youths on community-based events. The last MP had a good plan and I will be building on that.”
She was joined by former MP Ancil Antoine, deputy mayor Cagney Casimire and other PNM supporters.
Social distancing was practised but there were close to 30 supporters and only a few of them were seen without masks.
Morris-Julian said she was surprised by the party’s decision to allow her to represent them and she is confident her “good foundation” will help her win the seat on August 10.
She plans to build on the vision of Antoine for unity and partnership within the area.
“We want to ensure we build a community. The same way we recognise Arima as a town, we want D’Abadie/O’Meara to be that same type of community.
Residents of the D’Abadie/O’ Meara constituency have already predicted a resounding victory for the PNM candidate.
“Hard worker” and “strong-headed woman” were words used by residents to describe Morris-Julian when Newsday visited the area on Wednesday.
There was no mention of the withdrawal of the candidacy of former MP Ancil Antoine. Residents were moreintrigued by Morris-Julian’s candidacy. They hoped she could use her expertise and experiences as mayor to improve the lives of constituents.
Morris-Julian was selected on Tuesday night, taking the place of Antoine after his removal for shocking comments made during his campaign launch, last week.
The party distanced itself from Antoine’s comments describing America as a “s—hole country” before calling on Trinidadians not to welcome US citizens to TT.
He was speaking on the contrasting responses by the TT and US governments to the convid19 pandemic.
Antoine’s candidacy was withdrawn on Sunday but residents didn’t seem bothered by that.
Michael Edmund, of D’Abadie, said he was excited to have Morris-Julian as the area representative. He said her work had already spoken for her.
“She is my people. I grew up with her and I’m glad that she was chosen. She has a good chance. This is a sure victory. She did good work for Arima. I’ll like her to lobby to reconstruct Edma Avenue (located in Samaroo Village). The drains and bridge should be fixed one time.”
Other residents hoped Morris-Julian could bring the long-awaited development residents have been clamouring for.
John Brown, who predicted a resounding victory for the first-time contender, hoped she could continue the work of past MP Anil Roberts.
Brown, from Samaroo Village, said, “I don’t know what she can do to make it better for people. People think about financial rewards. When Anil Roberts was here he put nice roads, he paved and gave us a nice sporting field. Anil Roberts has been a good rep for the area. People might now want to see that effort from her.”
One 17-year-old resident Kelshawan Brathwaite told Newsday while sitting under a tree along the main road in Samaroo Village, he isn’t familiar with the mayor but hopes she can bring changes and create opportunities for young people.
“Right now I’m sitting here thinking of how to get a work. We just need more opportunities and some help learning a little trade work in the community.”
Stephon Shillingford also of Samroo village said he wishes the new mayor well and is confident she can help develop programmes that would end gang violence and reunite the community.
“As a young man I want the fields upgraded. We want her to do things to end the war amongst the community. I know she can’t stop them but we want something that would bring us together.”
Another resident said, “She doesn’t have the charisma but she is a ground-worker. She did a lot to upgrade Arima. She got a lot of resistance and she’s a strong-headed woman.” While Morris-Julian’s candidacy was warmly welcomed by most, some residents weren’t too keen about the news.
“I suffering so much I don’t want to hear about PNM,” Dexter Edwards of O’ Meara said.
“If they had done well from beginning things would have been nice now. If a very young team come I will support them 100 per cent. I want a fresh young team with no PNM or UNC ties. You see these old smart men, I’m good.”
One other resident wasn’t too excited about Morris-Julian running for office. He accused her of “sleeping” on the issues of dilapidated roads and unkept public buildings as mayor.
“She made a statement saying she’s ready to work and the roads are in a mess for years and she only now ready to work. They are in charge and have been sleeping all along.”