Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 8th 2015 Contents B25
Friday, May 8, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
In 2010 in San Fernando
West the PNM received 7,860
votes compared to the Congress
of the People (COP)/People s
Partnership 9,111 which left a
margin of 1,251 votes.
Deemed one of the many
hotly-contested seats in this
year s general election, it seems
that the PNM has the edge over
The latest poll conducted in
San Fernando West by GML s
Louis Bertrand of H.H.B and
Associates showed incumbent
MP Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan
had a 60 per cent unfavourable
rating, which senior political
analyst Winford James says
could spell trouble for the Kamla
But can PNM candidate for
San Fernando West Faris Al-
Rawi bag a victory for his party?
Some detractors have viewed
him as an "outsider", a resident
of an upscale Port-of-Spain
community who is disconnected
from the needs of the con-
stituents, especially the ordinary
Other political gurus have said
that because Al-Rawi is a third
mother Diane Seukeran served
as PNM MP for San Fernando
West and his grandfather Lionel
Seukeran also served in Parlia-
ment under the Democratic
Labour Party (DLP)---this could
easily grant him some leverage.
But Al-Rawi, who turned 44
last Sunday, strongly defended
his candidacy, saying as a citizen
of T&T he had a right to contest
He also scoffed at claims he
was not attuned to the pulse of
San Fernando East, adding that
he grew up "on the streets" of
the southern city.
Al-Rawi said he was born at
Victoria Nursing Home in Vista-
bella in San Fernando West and
attended Grant Memorial Pres-
byterian School on Coffee
Street, also in San Fernando
"I then attended Presentation
College on Coffee Street in San
Fernando West. I was a cub
scout, scout and then venture
scout in San Fernando West.
"I grew up on the streets of
San Fernando West. I pushed
box carts down Ruth Avenue
almost every day as a child. I
practised karate at Lion s Civic
Centre in San Fernando West.
"I volunteered almost every
spare moment that I had in my
teenage years at the San Fer-
nando General Hospital, the
Naparima Bowl, the San Fer-
nando Hill and many other
charitable organisations and
venues," the father of three
He added that as an attorney
he also practised between Port-
of-Spain and San Fernando.
He added: "Having been
blessed with deep sustained
roots in San Fernando I am ever
conscious in choosing to give
up my private life for public life
that as the representative of San
Fernando West, my calling and
job will be to represent all that
is San Fernando.
"It matters little where I
sometimes rest my head. It
matters more where I will spend
my working time and energy for
San Fernando West.
"I think it is safe to say that
I can be judged on my public
record. I love people and I love
to work for people, be it in law
or in political life.
"My work ethic will be, and
the result of it for San Fernando
West is, what is and what will
be important in being considered
as the next member of Parlia-
ment for San Fernando West,"
ON THE MARGIN---SAN FERNANDO WEST
'I WANTED THE HARDEST MARGINAL'
Al-Rawi: Who says
I am an outsider?
'I grew on streets of southern city'
Born an Iraqi of Trinidadian parentage, Al-
Rawi also shot back at detractors who accused
him of relying on his mother's political lineage
to win the seat.
my mother and the grandson of my maternal
grandparents, all of whom were actively
involved in service to the people.
"In Iraq I am equally proud to be the son of
my father and the grandson of my paternal
grandparents who were also deeply involved in
service to the people.
"I believe that I have spent good time
training in and outside of my family
experiences. Conscientiousness and morality
are often best learned at home.
"I believe that I can stand on my own record
as an advocate for the people and as a very
hard worker. San Fernando is a city of families.
"The greatest support that I have in San
Fernando is beyond my own blood family and
it's the support of the PNM family as I have
had the honour of walking the roads with two
immediate past members of Parliament and all
members of the present and past San
Fernando City Corporation."
Saying he also respected his opponents, Al-
Rawi, in the same breath, expressed
confidence that those who were not previously
supporters of the PNM were now willing to
Asked why he was not chosen by the PNM
to instead represent another seat, for instance
Chaguanas East or West, Al-Rawi said he
"wanted the hardest fight of all the marginals"
in the general election and therefore offered
himself for San Fernando West.
"I have been the recipient of the PNM's faith
and goodwill in front line political service in the
Senate for the last five years.
"I owe it to party and country to take on the
hard fight. I do so with great pleasure. I am a
karateka and have practised for many years.
"My father and my family members are all
martial artists. Prescriptions aside, I and we
love a great fight."
San Fernando West, Al-Rawi said, was one which
faced gross neglect. And what is he offering?
He said the PNM would be detailing and publishing
its constituency plan soon, adding it was eagerly
awaited by the people and "opponents."
He added: "I have been working my constituency
for months now and I am intimately aware of the
woes and traumas of the people of San Fernando
"They have suffered and can't see or even
recognise a single cent of the $350 billion-plus spent
by this PP Government.
"They know what the UNC and COP have not
given them. Among other deliverable, the people can
expect a local government reform of deep
"The vast majority of issues in San Fernando as a
whole, and indeed in T&T, are when stripped down,
are essentially issues of local government delivery,"
He said he was also committed to ensure
residents of the constituency received the
development and sustainability they needed and
"As a strong advocate I will fight for these
deliverables in and outside of the PNM. My focus is
not on the next election but the one after and the
period of service in between," he added.
Responding to critics saying
there was growing
discontentment and even "a
rebellion" within the party due
to the booting out of certain
candidates, including Donna
Cox and Amery Brown, during
the screening process, Al-Rawi
"Our detractors will have a
lot to say about us. They have
nothing to equal us in terms of
transparency and involvement
in the process of our
nomination and screening.
"No other political party can
even come close to what we
engage in and how we
implement the constitution of
"Have you ever heard of a
UNC or COP or NJAC screening
of the type that we
demonstrate every election,
every time?" Al-Rawi
REBELLION WITHIN THE PNM?
Criticism was also thrown
at Opposition Leader Dr Keith
Rowley who has been
accused of being too high-
handed in the selection
process of candidates.
But Al-Rawi said that was
not the case. He noted that
Rowley was obliged to
observe the PNM's
"He has no casting vote in
the screening committee and
has just the one vote given to
him. This was not always so.
"It was through Dr Rowley's
own advocacy that the PNM
removed its political leader's
casting and controlling vote in
the screening of candidates.
"As an officer of the PNM I
serve as a member of the
screening committee. I can
assure you that it is the
committee alone, as a
committee of which Dr
Rowley is only one member,
that selects candidates who
have been screened," Al-Rawi
NO HIGH HANDEDNESS IN CANDIDATES' SELECTION
CRAFTING HIS TRADE
KEY FOR SANDO WEST
He calls himself
and he has
been a semi-
fixture on High
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