PNM hoping to re-enter Penal/Debe corporation

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. – File photo

Anderson Nanan is hoping to be the first People’s National Movement (PNM) candidate in over 20 years to be elected to the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation’s (PDRC) council as he contests the Quinam/Morne Diablo seat in the June 17 by-election.

Nanan will be running against the United National Congress’s (UNC) Sarah Sookdeo.

Employed with the regional corporation for the last 24 years, Nanan said his work on the ground revealed several issues he does not believe are being addressed.

“They need more things in the area, and I feel I could make a difference, because people keep calling me.

“I ask them to support me in this election. Do not think about colour, red or yellow. Think about me, the person himself, and he can make a difference.”

He said the burgesses suffer from unemployment, poor water supply and deteriorating roads. Additionally, he said the recreation ground needs revamping and better lighting.

“The youths them coming out, they need lights as well too, because in the night they want to play a lil sports, a little football, cricket, something.”

If successful, he will be the only PNM councillor at the corporation.

Asked if he believes this make it hard to accomplish his goals, he said: “I believe when I sit on that council there, I believe the next nine councillors will be coming to me to support them, to get things done for their area.”

Former UNC Quinam/Morne Diablo councillor and alderman at the PDRC Hyacinth Rampersadsingh has thrown her support behind Nanan, helping him with his campaign.

“I believe in person and not party,” she said when asked about her decision to switch sides. “It doesn’t matter to me red, yellow or blue. I don’t care. I am concerned about representation.”

Rampersadsingh won the seat for the UNC in the 2010 local government elections.

However, Sookdeo believes she will be able to retain the UNC hold on the seat.

“I know we got this, because our mission is to serve the people and to continue to serve the people,” she said.

If successful, she also intends to include work with young people.

“So we have intentions of guiding the youths and bringing them on board, reaching out to the people, making local government different, being more visible in the area, attending to the needs of the people (and) meeting with them more often.”

In recent years, the PDRC has complained of a lack of funding from the central government. Asked how she intends to navigate this, she said: “There are some corporate people in the area, so we’re looking to make connections with them to see how best, and even to liaise with the current ministries to see how we could get things done for the area. There’s different ways and different avenues. So we’d see how we can explore them best.”

The PNM last won the seat in 2003, with Diptee Ramnath. In June 2010, he crossed the floor to the UNC. Representing the UNC in the election a month later was Rampersadsingh, who beat the PNM’s Debra Deokisingh.

In 2013, Ramnath again took the seat, but wearing a new political hat. He held the position in successive elections before becoming chairman of the corporation in 2023 and dying shortly afterwards.