MSJ sets sights on PNM Point Fortin stronghold

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Political leader of the MSJ David Abdullah takes a photo with candidates Nigel Whyte, Techier/Guapo, left, Amber Wharton, Hollywood, and Kester Swan, New Village at OWTU Hall, Newlands, Point Fortin. – AYANNA KINSALE

“WE are small but powerful and we are not contesting just to participate, but to win.”

The confident promise resonated from the camp of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) in the OWTU building, Point Fortin on Sunday evening, as the party launched its local government elections campaign.

The party has set its sights on winning at least three seats on the PNM-controlled Point Fortin Borough Corporation and has centred its platform on a basis of integrity and decency.

General Secretary Ozzie Warwick told the audience,“Nobody can represent the interest of the people of Point Fortin like the MSJ. MSJ represents dignity, integrity. We represent the struggle of the ordinary men and women, people who do not count, young people who are struggling daily.”

Though it is only fielding three candidates for the141 seats in contention, and focusing on only one of the 14 regions, party chairman Gregory Fernandez appealed to the electorate in the borough to put their strength behind the candidates, who represent change, he said.

“We not into the bacchanal. Leave that for the other political parties who are paying millions for members to cross the floor.

“We are not in that type of politics. Those who want to go down that road are either mad or don’t want change. The MSJ has something powerful to offer – to take the country to a new beginning.”

Deputy political leader Radhaka Gualbance said the MSJ has been involved in electoral politics since 2010 and invitations to form alliances have been mushrooming, but it is continuing to battle alone.

“There must be something good about the MSJ, something good about us. We are a party with integrity. We have candidates who carry and believe in that principle. We cannot be bought or sold.

“MSJ members are not crossing to the People’s National Movement (PNM) or to the United National Congress (UNC). If they leave, they just leave. They are not like the other two parties that keep crossing from one to the other.

“They (UNC/PNM) have the same DNA, and race talk comes up at this time about Indians and Africans.”

She accused the two dominant parties of “pitting the races one against the other.”

Pointing to the recent commemoration of Labour Day, Gulalbance said, “Labour Day does not see race. It sees ordinary people upon whose backs the economy was built, and these are the people who are under pressure.”

She said the MSJ, which emerged out of the trade union movement, would not allow a few leaders to continue dismantling the economy.

“We have leaders who have questions about guns to answer, we have leaders who destroy the economy and openly lie about if you closing the fridge door (in reference to the closure of Petrotrin) – I don’t want to repeat that statement.

“That man destroy Point Fortin, that man destroy Santa Flora, that man destroy Marabella (areas where Petrotrin had operations) and if we give him the opportunity, he will continue to destroy all state enterprises just to kill trade unions.

“We have to send a message that we are small, but we are powerful and we will continue to fight the battle for the ordinary people.”

She said if the people of Point Fortin looked at the deplorable state of their roads, the rising cost of fuel and the Minister of Finance laughing at them when he talked about increasing the prices but no one has yet rioted, while saying the economy was doing well, they should vote for the MSJ candidates.

The Opposition Leader, on the other hand, she said, was not an option, as she is “totally asleep. She has lost every single election since 2020 and she is still holding on to power.”

Like the biblical David in the story of Goliath, she said her political leader, David Abdulah, would topple the giants.

Abdulah introduced the three candidates – Nigel Whyte, who will contest the district of Techier/Guapo; Keston Swann, a second-time contender who is vying for New Village; and Amber Wharton, who has set her sights on the Hollywood district.