PARTY loyalty and not love for holding office is what prompted former chairman of the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation (SGRC) Terry Rondon to submit himself as a possible candidate for the Toco/Sangre Grande seat.
Although by-passed by PNM’s screening committee in favour of a less known and younger man, Roger Munroe, Rondon said, “I did it for love of my party.”
Munroe has been on the job as an alderman for just six months.
In a telephone interview on Monday, Rodon assured, “There is no hard feeling against my party.”
In active politics at the local government level for just over three decades Rondon assured, “It was a spur-of-the-moment decision and I accept the screening committee’s decision.”
He said he is ready to “hold the hands” of the candidate and “guide him,” just as folks did for him when he first entered politics as a young man 30 years ago. He is confident, once he endorses Munroe, there is no way he can lose the seat.
Explaining his rationale for wanting to contest, Rondon said he was pained by the controversy affecting his party after it rejected incumbent Glenda Jennings-Smith and the candidacy of former cricketer Mervyn Dillon was withdrawn days after he was selected. Rondon felt he had to make the ultimate sacrifice to jump in when the Prime Minister gave instructions to widen the net.
Toco-Sangre Grande, now described as a marginal seat, has been embroiled in controversy in its selection of a candidate. Jennings-Smith, who faced challenges when a leaked recording of her voice suggesting political affiliation in the distribution of food cards went public, reacted badly after the screening committee chose Dillon for the candidacy instead.
In turn, the selection of Dillon, described by some as a “Johnny-come-lately,” threatened to further tear apart the fragile constituency which saw the UNC making inroads during last year’s local government elections and the party dropped him.
Rondon said, “To be honest, I had a candidate in the race and when that candidate did not get through and the party asked for new nominations, when I heard the criteria called, I said, ‘That is Terry Rondon,’ and I decided, on the spur of the moment, to take my chances and go in so I can bring victory to my party.
“Why? Because I am who I am because of the PNM.”
“Had I known they (the party) favoured the candidate before, I would not have put my hat in the ring, because I did it, not necessarily to hold office, but out of loyalty to my party.
“I wanted them to field the best possible candidate. Otherwise, I was contented with being a councillor and riding it out for the next three years.”
Given his track record, having served six years as chairman of the SGRC and as a councillor for 24-plus years, he said he knew he would have had the support of the people in the upcoming elections.
He agreed it would not be easy to regain lost ground but he was willing to help Munroe.
“I am where I am today because of the love people have for me in their hearts and I intend to do the same for Roger. I called him last night (Sunday). He is new to the politics, but if he has an old stager to show him the ropes, he can win.”
He said the executive will be meeting this week to chart the way forward.
Constituency chairman Jillian Edwards confirmed several meetings were already held on Monday.
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