Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 8th 2015 Contents retain crucial support of the
Presbyterians and Muslims (cru-
cial for San Fernando West and
Meighoo proposed that PNM
was able to grasp East Indian
support by appealing to the two
Unofficial estimates suggest
there are over 4,000 Presbyte-
rians in the constituency and
one Muslim pressure group,
named Umrah T&T.
It said there were roughly
5,000 Muslim electors in the
Sando West and 8,000 in
Barataria/San Juan constituen-
Constituents, however, said
race had no bearing on political
Maulana Sulimami, of the
Mucurapo Street Jama Masjid,
has very strong political views.
He agrees his religious group
impacts the politics of the day.
"You see this government,
Muslims come out to vote them
and Muslims really made the dif-
ference and the whole population
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San Fernando West is arguably
one of the constituencies which best
demonstrates the role of religion in
Pollster Louis Bertrand of H.S.B.
and Associates has found Hindu East
Indians in T&T are more likely to
vote for the UNC than East Indian
Muslims and Christians.
Couple that with an excerpt of
political analyst Dr Kirk Meighoo s
publication of "Religion and Politics
He writes: "The Afro dominated
PNM was for many years able to
ON THE MARGIN---SAN FERNANDO WEST
Religion may just hold upper hand
there's no connection
and their political
He said: "One cannot
say Presbyterians in
San Fernando West are
PNMites. You cannot
say that. They are
middle class and are
free to choose."
San Fernando West has given the
occasions: 1986, 2000 and 2010. (See
When asked if having a
Presbyterian candidate would ensure
a party's victory in San Fernando
West Teelucksingh said:
"Religion does not determine the
winner. It could be a good Hindu, a
good Muslim, Baptist... They will vote
for the best candidate."
Teelucksingh says the marginality
of the constituency lies in the
electors who he describes as more
mature and discretionary.
"San Fernando West is more
discriminatory than that. They're
more intelligent and are looking for a
strong person to represent them," he
He said most of the congregation
was of East Indian descent.
"It's a mixed congregation but it is
predominantly made up of Indo
Trinidadians today,but history is to
be blamed for that," he added.
Teelucksingh, who has served at
the Sumsamachar Presbyterian
Church, Coffee Street, maintains
political affiliation is not
based on faith or
several electors claimed
they had in the past
been directed to elect a
Christian government by
Others noted that
when the Concordat had
been a national issue,
heads of some
denominational schools instructed
parents not to bestow their political
support to the administration
spearheading the agreement.
But Teelucksingh said that was not
so. He argued: "Politics is not based
on religion, it is not race based. It is
And he said government handouts
would hardly work in a constituency
like San Fernando West.
"The middle class people are
socially independent from an
economic perspective they are
independent and I do not see any
need to tow any party line," he said.
In the current political climate we
have seen many religious leaders
weighing in on the political divide.
When asked whether religion has
a role in politics he said: "The
Christian church... whether by a thin
line or a wall, the Christian church
has never separated itself from
Teelucksingh believes there is god
reason for that "when there is an
oppressive government the church
has spoken and must always get
involved, in that sense, in politics."
Imam Maulana Sulimami
'IT'S NOT TRIBAL THING'
'IT'S NOT A UNC SEAT'
Evans Harry, 72, a devout Hindu
and chairman of the Todd's Road
Hindu Temple said religion has no
bearing on his political choices.
"Since 1980 I have not shifted my
vote. I have voted for the principles
of the manifestos of the ONR, NAR,
He's your regular middle class
constituent, a teacher for most his
life. he said he has seen many MPs
come and go.
One thing is for sure, in his point of
view at least: "San Fernando West is
not a UNC seat. It's entirely different.
It will go with the partnership, yes,
but not a UNC candidate. I cannot
see UNC winning anything here," he
said in an interview.
According to Harry's calculations,
he is part of a block of 4,000 voters
who gave the ONR support and later
the NAR the nod over the dominant
PNM, a group, he says, which lies in
the dead centre... bearing allegiance
to nothing but ethics and principle.
"When a government displeases
the people there is a percentage shift
to that 4,000 which gives the
opposition victory... this is the
pattern of voting in San Fernando
West," he said.
As far as religion goes, there
are the voters who follow none
but continue to swing their
support, like fisherman Dindial.
He said: "I vote for anyone of
the party that try to help the
He was born and bred in San
Fernando and for years has
been faithful in his political
support. "I am PNM and I am
grateful to the PNM."
Being of East Indian descent
didn't have any relevance on
how and whom he would
"It's not about the tribal thing
in San Fernando. It's the love we
have in San Fernando. It's not
about race or the tribal thing,
it's the love that make it
unique," he added.
Continues on Page B23
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