Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 12th 2015 Contents A14
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt April 12, 2015
Political analyst Maukesh Basdeo says close atten-
tion should be paid to the San Fernando West seat
in the 2015 general election, especially if the Elec-
tions and Boundaries Commission s proposed con-
stituency adjustments are approved in Parliament.
Speaking in an interview about the changes, which
will see the re-alignment of polling divisions in six
constituencies and result
in boundary changes for
ten seats, Basdeo said
many may have their eyes
on San Fernando East, but
its neighbouring seat is
the one to watch.
"I do not see any party
getting an edge on anyone
(with the changes.) A lot
will come down to cam-
paigning and getting peo-
ple to vote for whoever
is representing San Fer-
nando West and San Fer-
nando East and the cam-
paign strategy involved.
"It would be much
closer, the electoral race
in San Fernando West
than San Fernando East.
That is what you are
looking at," Basdeo said.
Basdeo said with the
proposed changes, the
margin of victory for the People s Partnership in the
seat, which is currently held by Public Administration
Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, would be sig-
nificantly reduced when compared to the 2010 results.
He explained that the EBC is proposing to move
two polling divisions, with a combined total electors
of 741, which would narrow the margin of victory
should the PP retain the seat.
Tight race for Sando Fernando
"The race for San Fernando West will be a tight
one," he said.
Basdeo explained that in 2010 in San Fernando
West the People s National Movement (PNM) received
7,860 votes compared to the COP/PP s 9,111, which
left a margin of 1,251 votes.
When one looks at the polling division to be moved
from San Fernando East to San Fernando West, "what
you will discover is one stronghold polling division
moved from one party to another, which is what
happened with San Fernando East and Oropouche
He said in 2010---polling division 4055 at Coffee
Street Boys AC School---the United National Congress
got 90 votes against the PNM s 236 and at polling
division 4060, also at the Coffee Street AC, the UNC
received 63 votes to the PNM s 83.
"The two polling divisions that were strong for
the PNM, they are shifting across to San Fernando
West, which reduced the margin and would give
close to 300 votes in favour of the PNM," he said.
This, he said, could trigger a run-off in the con-
stituency should the contentious provision in the
Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2015 be approved.
Debate on that bill is still pending, changes proposed
by the Senate for the bill are yet to be completed
and the legislation returned to Parliament.
However, Nigel Henry, managing director and prin-
cipal consultant at Solution by Simulation Ltd, said
the proposed changes, especially in the Diego Martin
seats, were basically, "the changing of one safe (PNM)
seat to another. So it does not make any difference."
Both men agree that the changes being proposed
by the EBC are simply to bring equity to
the electoral system and there was nothing
sinister in the changes.
EBC chairman Dr Norbert Masson has
defended the report and the proposed
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
recently laid the Elections and Boundaries
Commission s 2014 report in the Parliament
for debate. The debate was heated at times,
with PNM MPs suggesting that the changes
would present the Government with an
opportunity for gerrymandering. The debate
has been adjourned.
The EBC report recommends boundary
adjustments for Couva North, Couva South,
Diego Martin West, Diego Martin Central,
Diego Martin North/East, Port-of-Spain
South, Port-of-Spain North/St Ann s West,
San Fernando East, San Fernando West and
Oropouche East to accommodate the redis-
tribution of polling divisions.
The EBC, in its March 27, 2014 report,
which is available on the Parliament Web
site, says the electorate stands at 1,040,462
in Trinidad and 47,319 in Tobago.
The EBC explained that its band para-
metres for Trinidad stand at 29,347 elec-
Continues on Page A15
Analyst on EBC boundary changes
Sando West seat to watch
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