Granthume makes inroads in Princes Town for PNM

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

– PNM FB page

Rev Autly Granthume, PNM’s newly elected councillor for the Lengua/ Indian Walk electoral district, might be a new face in politics, but he said he had been part of the PNM family since he was a boy.

Preliminary results in Monday’s local government elections show that he won the seat with 1,430 votes, beating his opponent, UNC’s Nicole Gopaul, by five votes. The UNC requested a recount, which started on Tuesday and was set to end on Wednesday afternoon.

However, a statement from the Elections and Boundaries Commission late Wednesday said the recout had resulted in a tie between the two candidates, each getting 1,428 votes – a loss of two votes for Granthume and a gain of three votes for Gopaul. As a result, that recount had not been concluded by press time on Wednesday.

Granthume’s performance, however, still suggests that the PNM has made inroads into the Princes Town Regional Corporation (PTRC), which had all ten districts previously.

Granthume, also known as Pastor, of the Mt Pleasant London Baptist Church at Indian Walk, reminisced that his late father, Frank Hubert Bishop, was an ardent supporter of the PNM since the era of Dr Eric Willimas – the party’s founder and the first prime minister of TT.

Granthume and other relatives did the same thing – supported the PNM.

On Wednesday, Granthume told Newsday that his father contested local government elections in the 1970s and lost by “maybe three or four votes.

“In those days, politics was not aggressive as it is now. So, my father never pushed to get a recount, but he kept on supporting the PNM. My father died on December 26, 2003, and was a church member,” Granthume said.

“I was never at the forefront of things. But I attended meetings, was always here, there and everywhere, and supported the party group.”

Granthume, the father of three who turns 60 on August 29, was ordained 27 years ago.

His contributions to the community include doing references and testimonies for people, helping them seek employment, promoting the village council and party group and helping senior citizens to apply for grants.

Granthume said people encouraged him to “make a greater contribution to the community,” by entering the political arena, and he took up the challenge.

“At the last election, I offered myself but was not selected. This time the party accepted me,” the first-time candidate said.

One of his first orders of business in office relates to helping young people.

He said he noticed that over the years, many people completed secondary school but still needed help to read and write properly.

“I want to work in collaboration with the community to have homework centres with the assistance of teachers. Some parents cannot afford to give their children extra lessons,” Granthume said.

On his campaign journey, Granthume said: “It took a lot from me, and thank God I was able to continue with my activities at church as normal. I set my schedule right. The church and other churches, the community were very supportive.”

He also supervises seven other London Baptist churches within the Moruga Tableland constituency from New Grant to Marac Village.

He is employed as an engineering assistant at the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) office in Princes Town.

As the lone PNM representative in the UNC-led corporation, Granthume promised to raise issues without fear.

“Even though we may not agree with everything, we must respect one another. I have had interaction working with the chairman at the URP office,” he added.