TWO weeks after the Progressive Empowerment Party (PEP) announced their first five candidates for the 2020 general election, an additional 26 candidates have been selected to contesting the August 10 polls.
Political leader Phillip Edward Alexander told Newsday on Tuesday that the reason for the sudden increase in candidates was to meet the Friday nomination day deadline.
“Our plan was to do eight weeks of candidate releases on the local television and social media. We did our first two when the prime minister announced this short election season, which no longer allowed for that, so we put up that 31 (candidates) which is our count so far.
“So nomination day being Friday and today is Tuesday, we’re just trying to tie up some loose ends with a couple of candidate hopefuls. We lost a couple due to dual citizenships, one had to step down due to victimisation – so it’s difficult in Trinidad being the new kid on the block,” Alexander said.
Alexander, who was originally carded to contest the San Fernando West constituency, is now the candidate for Diego Martin North East, formerly held by Finance Minister Colm Imbert.
Speaking on the change, Alexander said he lives in Diego Martin and felt his experience and understanding of problems in the community would be an asset as a candidate and hopefully, the MP.
“There are three seats that were identified as potential seats for me as leader – San Fernando West, Diego Martin North East and St Joseph. Because our party has real support in St Joseph, we wanted to put the leader to run there. But we have as a policy that the candidate should come from the constituency so they can understand the problems of the area, so we’ve been trying to hold to that, and we’ve been able to do that. I wish I can run everywhere.”
Alexander said the party intends to contest all 39 seats in Trinidad and is in the process of “tying up loose ends” for the remaining eight candidates. Those chosen so far are:
Gail Castanada, PoS South; Anthony Henry, Cumuto/Manzanilla; Phillip Edward Alexander, D/Martin North East; Alice Narine, Fyzabad; Dave Babwah, Caroni East; Robert Matthew Gibbs, Chaguanas East; Albertha Purdeen, Barataria/San Juan; Sasha Ali, Oropouche East; Sterling Lee Ha, Mayaro; Hadassah Charles-McLeod, D’Abadie/O’Meara; Carl Henry, Tabaquite; Benet Thomas, La Horquetta/Talparo; Akil Camps, St Anns East; Marc Beddoe, Chaguanas West; Kevon Fernandez, Toco/Sangre Grande; Rohanie Debideen, Couva North; Christopher Roberts, Laventille East/Morvant; Sharon Hernandez, Arima; Limma McLeod, PoS North/St Ann’s West; Kim Young Low, P/Town; Sateesh Ramsaran, St Augustine; Natalia Moore, L’tille West; Kelvin Wayne, Arouca/Maloney; Lorena Lucien, Caroni Central; Dominique Lopez, Lopinot/Bon Air West; Felicia Holder, D/Martin Central; Gerard Whyms, Couva South; Maurice Downes, Tunapuna; Marvin Howard, Pointe-a-Pierre; Rondoll Glasgow, La Brea; and Benison Jagessar for San Fernando West.