Marcus Girdharie, UNC Councillor for Marabella South / Vistabella. – Marvin Hamilton
MARABELLA South/Vistabella councillor Marcus Girdharie sent a warning on Thursday night to San Fernando East MP Brian Manning, telling him, “Fear me,” as he was coming after Manning’s job.
Girdharie is one of three United National Congress (UNC) councillors who won seats in the former People’s National Movement (PNM) stronghold of San Fernando in the 2019 local government elections.
He charged that Manning has been using the Parliament to “pelt stones” at him because of the work he is doing in the electoral district.
At the UNC T&T Speaks at Gulf View Community Centre on Thursday night, he played videos of Manning’s contribution in Parliament when he took jabs at Girdharie on two occasions.
Without naming him, Manning spoke of a councillor who was taking credit for work he said he had done as MP, in preserving homes threatened by the collapse of the Vistabella river.
In the video, Manning said even from his sickbed in the High Dependency ward of the Couva Hospital when he had covid19, he was in daily contact with Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan, and eventually the problem was solved.
Manning was critical of “the kind of representation from the other side.”
He said, “They want to reap what they have not sown. Let the councillor know he will win nothing in San Fernando East going forward, because in San Fernando East we do not reward dishonesty.”
In his response on Thursday night, Girdharie encouraged people to go on his Facebook page to see images of his involvement in the project and where he thanked both Manning and Sinanan for their assistance.
Rationalising that people pelt stones only at trees bearing fruit, Girdharie found it alarming that Manning, his MP, would use Parliament to respond to such a simple issue.
“When a sitting MP is threatened by work done and accomplished by a councillor, that speaks volumes.
“It says that I am doing the right thing. It says that I am doing that which the people of Vistabella South/Marabella had elected me to do. I am thankful they acknowledge it.
“So, yes, MP for San Fernando East, you ought to be fearful. You ought to be afraid of this councillor, because this year being the year for the local government election, I will yet again win the seat of Marabella South/Vistabella.
“And watch yourself, small man, when general election comes, I have the ability to be the next and incoming MP for San Fernando East.”
The PNM has held San Fernando East since 1956.
The UNC has started its campaign in anticipation of local government elections, constitutionally due later this year, but is yet to select candidates. A general election is not due for another three years.
On the same platform, San Fernando alderman Rooplal Samaroo compared the city today to years gone by when it was safe to walk the streets, shop, go to school and recreate, without fear.
He said today, San Fernando is broken, filled with hopelessness, as major industries which employed people – Caroni and Petrotrin in particular – have been shut down by the PNM, leaving idle young people who feel the country has betrayed them.
The city, he said, “has been decimated by a power-hungry, arrogant and incompetent regime. But we have an opportunity to rebuild our beautiful city and restore it to the pristine state it once was.”
Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial said crime is out of control, with gun violence escalating in the city.
She said there was also a rising trend of cable theft but the police are underresourced to deal with this, even as money is being misspent on useless investigations targeting the opposition
“If you call the police or TSTT estate police, they don’t have vehicles to respond. The police themselves complain to us about resources. They compare their working conditions to sweatshops because a/c units not working, fans are broken, they have one functional toilet for police and prisoners to use, and if they don’t bring toilet paper from home,well, there is none.”