GARVIN Nicholas, leader of the Movement for National Development (MND), says breaking the People’s National Movement’s (PNM) stronghold in Diego Martin will give the region the attention and power he says are afforded to Tobago.
By that he means the island’s two parliamentary seats have the potential to swing an election (as they did in 1995 in a coalition with the UNC). Diego Martin should have the same amount of influence, he believes, and it “needs a proper voice in what happens in our region and nationally.”
While there are easily identifiable national issues, Nicholas, who was attorney general during the People’s Partnership’s last year in office, explained to Newsday why his party is focused only on the three constituencies in Diego Martin, which have long been held by the PNM.
“We understand that it is always better to serve the people and places you know well,” he said.
“In addition, the traditional political framework is about the race to 21 seats. In this framework, so-called safe seats, like those in the region of Diego Martin, are never given priority.”
Nicholas will go up against current chairman of the Diego Martin Regional Corporation Symon De Nobrega, who replaces Darryl Smith, for the Diego Martin Central seat.
The MND’s other contenders are entertainer and producer Myron Bruce and farmer and businessman Dexter Nicholls, both of whom are newcomers to politics.
Bruce takes on Minister of Finance Colm Imbert for the Diego Martin North/East seat, while Nicholls is running against long-standing Diego Martin West representative Prime Minister Keith Rowley.
Stressing his desire to improve Diego Martin, Nicholas said good governance in TT is sacrificed in the typical struggle for political power.
The three constituencies require an “intensive programme of regeneration,” he argued.”We are seeing a growing gap between the haves and the have-nots. Job creation through entrepreneurship opportunities is a high-priority goal.”
More specifically, he said, among the MND’s main concerns for Diego Martin are that litter laws are enforced, key agricultural areas and all regular households receive running water and that people who have occupied land for generations receive title to it. He said the party is also canvassing on the equitable distribution of government contracts to regional businesses, “basic aesthetics to lift the energy of the region” and renovating sporting facilities for use by the public and to encourage safe participation in community activities.
“We believe that through agricultural entrepreneurship, investment in entertainment and the arts and manufacturing, we can commence the regeneration of the Diego Martin communities.”
The contrast in experience among the three MND candidates, Nicholas said, is good for the party.
“We are able to provide considerable successful local and international political experience, (along) with youth, dynamism and the genuine passion to serve our communities with respect and transparency, to create the perfect vehicle.”
Like the other parties, he said the MND is adhering to physical distancing while campaigning.
“We are using the traditional method of house-to-house and also using high-traffic public areas to meet, mask-to-mask,” he said. “We are also embarking on a social media campaign, utilising the tools of Facebook; our website (mnd4diego.com); Twitter; and Instagram.”
He said for campaign financing, the party depends on small donations from friends, family and well-wishers.
The candidates, he said, were selected after a process of identifying prospects who were either targeted or who volunteered.
“We screened them and were satisfied that they ticked all the important boxes: strong identification with Diego Martin, strong interest in representing people respectfully and effectively, a keen interest in community and the diversification policy agenda, and being capable.”
Nicholls, whose family owns an estate in Cumuto, seemingly pairs well with the party, given its interest in agriculture.
He is described on the party’s website as having “always wanted to explore his passion for agriculture and creativity and felt that food security and sustainability was the best option for the future of his family and himself.”
It also said: “Since 2012 to now Dexter has been faced with serious personal challenges within the agriculture sector. His most recent rise to the political landscape was borne out of his own personal struggles and a yearning for policy reform where efficiency, effectiveness, innovation and creativity is the mantra by which the society resonates.”
“His alignment with the MND and Garvin Nicholas is the start of this movement for meaningful change; sustainable development and humility and integrity in leadership.”
Bruce grew up in Maraval and is well known, having won the Extempo Monarch title in 2018, beating ten-time winner Winston “Gypsy” Peters.
“He is celebrated as one of the community’s best home-grown talents,” the website reads, “as his rise to success in the arts and culture was only made possible by the support and nurturing he received from the entire community.
“Today he is on a mission to give back to the community that has given so much to him and inspire a whole new generation through service and representation at the highest level.
“After two decades of success in the arts and business, Myron is now a celebrated cultural ambassador, a well respected music producer and the owner of IEnt Digital Marketing, an advertising and production company.
The website also describes him as “the true embodiment of a leader.”
Nicholas was born in Maraval but has spent the past 18 years living in Petit Valley with his wife and son, while not on diplomatic duties abroad.
Of the trio, he is the only one with considerable experience in politics and diplomatic relations.
From 2010-2015, Nicholas served as a non-elected member of the People’s Partnership: he was High Commissioner to the UK and ambassador to Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway and Sweden. He won the Diplomat of the Year for the Americas Award as High Commissioner to the UK in 2012.
He has lobbied to have the Paramin RC primary school built and lighting put up on recreational grounds in Diego Martin North East.
“With the help of his colleagues,” the bio notes, “he was able to get water run to various communities and to commence projects that if completed by the present regime, would have alleviated much hardship now experienced by residents.
“While Garvin is committed to the sustainable development of TT as a whole, his primary focus is on Diego Martin. He believes that if Diego Martin can be transformed, it can become the model for the rest of TT to follow.”
The post Nicholas: ‘We want to give Diego the power Tobago enjoys’ appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.