(TrinidadGuardian)The Opposition UNC got 173,961 votes, the highest number in Monday’s Local Government election – but there was a lower voter turnout of 30. 34 per cent than there was in the 2019 LG election.
And recounts were ongoing yesterday in 12 areas which the UNC requested and two areas the PNM requested.
The preliminary figures on the 141 electoral areas of the 14 regional corporations were released by the Election and Boundaries Commission (EBC) yesterday.
The PNM and UNC tied for control of seven corporations each, the same result as the 2019 LG election.
For Monday’s election, the EBC stated, “With an electorate of 1,091,935 in 141 electoral districts in Trinidad, there was a voter turnout of 30.34 per cent. The total votes cast were 331,300 with 996 rejected ballots.”
The voter turnout in Monday’s poll is lower than for the 2019 LG election, which was 34.49 per cent. There was an electorate of 1,079, 976 then. Votes cast had been 372,503. The UNC won the popular vote then.
On Monday, the PNM claimed victory in its strongholds of Port-of-Spain, Diego Martin, San Juan-Laventille, Point Fortin, San Fernando, Tunapuna/Piarco and Arima. The PNM also claimed inroads with a Princes Town seat.
The UNC claimed victory in its strongholds of Penal-Debe, Siparia, Princes Town, Chaguanas Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo, Mayaro/Rio Claro and retook Sangre Grande with more seats there.
Yesterday, the EBC received the official requests for recounts in 14 electoral districts. Recounts began at 3 pm at the office of the Returning Officer for the electoral district where the recount was requested.
As recounts were underway, the EBC yesterday evening issued the preliminary results for the election.
The EBC provided the alpha-listing of the total votes received by political parties:
- ↓Movement for Social Justice – 164
- ↓National Transformation Alliance – 15,997
- ↓People’s National Movement – 130,868
- ↓Progressive Democratic Patriots – 1,287
- ↓Progressive Empowerment Party – 5,930
- ↓Re-united Farmers’ Alliance – 1,041
- ↓The National Party – 45
- ↓Trinidad Humanity Campaign – 234
- ↓United National Congress – 173,961
- ↓Unity of the People – 110
The EBC also stated the total votes received by the six Independent candidates in the election:
- ↓Vivian Johnson (Belmont South) – 128
- ↓Kathleen Wellington (Blanchisseuse/Santa Rosa) – 55
- ↓Irvin Samuel Felix (Hollywood) – 57
- ↓Kendall Hagley (Mayaro South/Guayaguayare) – 191
- ↓Dixie-Ann Elliot (Pleasantville) – 140
- ↓Gwendolyn Charles (Valencia West) – 96
UNC recounts in north/south; south for PNM
The UNC sought recounts in 12 areas held by the PNM – from the East west-corridor to South Trinidad.
The PNM sought recounts in Marabella West and Marabella South/Vistabella. The PNM’s Marabella West candidate, Jameela Marryshaw, lost to UNC’s John Alibocus.
Also, the PNM lost Marabella South/Vistabella to UNC’s Sasha Ali. Ex-UNC councillor Marcus Girdharie, who defected to the PNM in June, contested the seat for PMM.
The recount was sought in the following districts and by the following parties (and candidates).
1 ↓Arima Northeast (UNC candidate Jairzinho Rigsby)
2 ↓Arima West/O’Meara (UNC candidate Ryan Diaz)
3 ↓Auzonville/Tunapuna (UNC candidate Meguel Latchman)
4 ↓Bagatelle/Blue Basin (UNC candidate Nalini Goindoo)
5 ↓Blanchisseuse/Santa Rosa (UNC candidate Cherisse Smith)
6 ↓Cocoyea/Tarouba (UNC candidate Shane Samlal)
7 Five Rivers (UNC candidate Jamie Hosein)
8 ↓Lengua/Indian Walk (UNC candidate Nicole Gopaul)
9 ↓Marabella West (PNM candidate Jameela Marryshaw)
10 ↓Marabella South/Vistabella (PNM candidate Marcus Girdharie).
11 ↓Maracas/Santa Margarita (UNC candidate Peter Nero)
12 ↓Mayaro North (UNC candidate Kristen Townsand)
13 ↓Sangre Grande North East (UNC candidate Darren Timothy)
14 ↓San Juan East (UNC candidate Garth Mills)
We worked very hard and people wanted change—UNC
Yesterday, officials of the PNM and UNC parties spoke on the outcome of the election.
UNC campaign officials said, “Naturally, we are pleased to have obtained the highest number of votes and we thank everyone for that – particularly our teams who worked very very hard. The lower voter turnout is something which we will have to do further analysis on. But the results show that people want change and acknowledged their understanding of our empathy for them.”
PNM PRO Faris Al-Rawi didn’t reply on PNM’s figures. Other PNM officials said the party would speak on the matter when all recounts are in.
NTA officials had made it clear that Monday was just the beginning for the party and they would be pursuing efforts to bring other entities together for the general election.
In San Fernando, PNM officials said the eastern areas of the corporation had held their own well. But they said they’d expected that ex-UNC councillor Marcus Girdharie’s bid to keep Marabella South-Vistabella for the PNM might have been unsuccessful due to the Opposition’s method of strong contest against their members who defected to PMM. They also noted the failure of onetime UNC Montrose councillor Andell Paramsook, who contested the seat for PNM on Monday.
PNM Arima officials meanwhile lauded the win by ex-UNC councillor Sheldon “Fish” Garcia in Arima Central. It was among Monday’s first announced victories. Garcia defected from the UNC in June also.
But they also said it had been detected during the campaign that there were areas of weakness, including Arima North East and Arima West O’Meara. The PNM’s Arima North East past representative didn’t offer himself for re-election, they added. The candidate, Kim Garcia, is a first timer, they also noted.
In Sangre Grande, PNM officials noted issues which had arisen, including alleged canvassing on election day for which they had to seek legal advice. Party officials credit the party’s win in Princes Town – which the Prime Minister was particularly pleased about – to reinforced campaigning.
UNC officials, who were happy about the party’s advances in some PNM areas – including Tunapuna/Piarco, however, noted that the increased competition with some smaller parties – beyond its NTA and MND partners – had affected some votes. They were reviewing their bid in the Cocoyea-Tarouba seat, which UNC had heavily targeted, but were pleased with their inroads in other San Fernando seats. UNC officials agreed that the presence of frontliner Jack Warner and the NTA had helped energise the UNC’s campaign.
Meanwhile, Movement for National Development leader Garvin Nicholas – whose group was part of UNC’s accommodation – says the election reinforced an inevitability that he’d “been debating, pondering and even resisting: that T&T is a two-party state”.
He said via statement, “The challenge, therefore, is not to present an alternative opposition to the government (the human and financial resources aren’t there for this), but to make the Opposition attractive enough that people will want to vote it into government. This burden falls to the elected leader of the opposition. Personality and grudge politics have no place in a serious democracy. T&T’s religious, cultural, geographic and socioeconomic diversity, mandate that the opposition must develop a binding philosophy much deeper than the mundane and transient, which must be noble enough in its intent that the majority of the population could embrace.”
He added, “The opposition needs to evolve into a dynamic, forward thinking, energetic, transparent and aspirational political machine in order to be attractive to the population. It’s only when we commit to these ideals and set up a framework for sustainable, accountable, prosperous and equitable development that people will be excited into casting their ballot at the next general election.”