Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 15th 2015 Contents NO POLITICAL PARTY TODAY
REALLY REPRESENTS (PER CENT)
It s the oldest town in the country, housing the
first Catholic Church and proudly carries the title
of T&T s first capital.
Today, St Joseph has once again found itself at the
epicentre of democracy as one of the most marginal
constituencies in electoral politics.
But a look at the voting trends over the past few
decades show this constituency has been equally
held by the rivals UNC and PNM on four elections
Interestingly, on three of the four occasions St
Joseph was won by the PNM, it seems the third-
party effect is what tipped the scales in its favour.
In 1991, 2007 and 2013, the conglomerate
UNC/NAR, UNC/COP and UNC/ILP votes, respec-
tively, towered over the PNM s.
Still, there are many who remain faithful to their
political parties. The heart of St Joseph is filled with
PNM supporters while pockets, like Bamboo and
Valsayn, are UNC territory.
One PNM diehard (who preferred not to be named)
unable to support the rival party, like many others
felt withholding his vote was the only option in 2010
"I didn t vote in the last election. I just kept my
vote," he said in an interview.
He s a man on the ground and passes time at his
favourite watering hole where politics often makes
its way into casual banter and in such a hotly contested
seat, neglect, he said, was the order of the day.
"They did nothing for this part of St Joseph, maybe
Bamboo and certain parts but they did nothing here.
You can see it on the streets," he said.
When asked what makes a constituency like St
Joseph marginal, he responded:
"Lady, well I hear it out here... on the ground. You
hearing the talk... the Indian and the African talk.
"The Indians getting the majority of work now
and the Africans, who had the little contracts, it is
taken away... you hearing that every day."
Sitting on the other side of the fence, UNC hardliner
Anthony agreed that race was the deciding factor
when it comes to voting in St Joseph.
"Yeah it s true, it s race, that is what goes on.
Indians and the Negroes still fighting one another
still," he added.
But after all is said and done, when he himself has
seen little change nationally and within his con-
stituency, Anthony said he was still willing to give
the UNC another term in office.
He said: "It would be the same problem if we put
PNM there and we would have to start all over again.
To me, I feel we could give she another five years
and if after that she don t do nothing then she will
have to go."
But many of his neighbours say the differential
treatment meted out to the UNC strongholds is
reason enough to vote the People s Partnership out
"We didn t get no box drain like Bangladesh and
all these places, we get nothing," another elector said.
VILLAGERS HOLDING ON TO HOPE
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, May 15, 2015
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ON THE MARGIN---ST JOSEPH
Hardliner: Race will be deciding factor
Some residents in this UNC
stronghold say their hope has been
renewed by the PNM's candidate,
"Look Divali he come and he give
these fellas money to light up the
road and brighten the village. When
is Phagwa he give them abeer to
celebrate the festival.
"You never see a UNC party group
do that. They forget about we when
they win election," she said.
Asha says Deyalsingh has been a
good representative despite their
obvious political preference.
"If Mr Deyalsingh come here and
help out the people, yes we will vote
for him," she professed.
Indira Jaikaran, who is also from
Bangladesh, said she has been
bypassed in getting her certificate of
comfort. She remembers the Prime
Minister herself promising villagers
they would fight for their rights.
"It have people who come here
buy house, buy land and get
certificate of comfort who wasn't in
the land before 1998," Jaikaran said.
Comfort of knowing her home can
be legally called her own is what her
vote is based on.
"In our yard is 25 votes alone and
if I don't get my certificate of
comfort we not voting for UNC
anymore... my mother, sisters,
brother- in-law, nobody voting for
A swing in what many may say
the opposite direction... it may seem
Deyalsingh already has his foot in
"That is the man who help me get
materials to build my house. I asked
UNC many times about it and they
never do nothing. It was Mr
Deyalsingh who helped me get
Carol, of Wharf Trace, who in 2010
swung her vote, will go back to PNM
this year because, she says, the
national change she expected was a
"I'm not saying they didn't try
their best but we have all resources
in our country and they are selling it
"When they sell it out what we
will have to do? Import? We don't
have to do that... this country is too
rich for that and poverty in this
country is not supposed to be," she
There are others like Roy, who feel
servants of the people should be
just that and politics should not be a
"Whether you vote PNM or UNC
they need to support the people
because you are the people's
government," he rationalised.
Ironically, metres away,
across in Bangladesh, the said
UNC stronghold, the little
development electors see is
still not enough.
"It's only now we get a good
drain because election coming
up we getting this drain. They
care nothing about you when
they win the election," Asha
She said her party, the UNC,
had done like the other before
and failed to fulfil promises.
"That big drain need fixing.
When water come it's real
water it have, going into people
house. Everybody getting flood
out. The Government promise
to fix that and up to now they
never fix it," she added.
Smack in your face, along the
Priority Bus Route, villagers
make a daily trek to one of
three stand pipes to fill water
for their chores.
"How much people will fill
from one stand pipe? When
night come people need water,
everybody trying to fill their
barrel for their children to go to
school... you have to take
turns... you might have to take
two weeks to wait to get
water," Asha said.
The village is just yards away
from the WASA main office
but gets by without 21st-
century sewage systems.
"Well sewage real bad, really
bad here because it's latrine we
have and who have flush toilet
still have to get water to throw
in from the pipe to flush it,"
As a community, which has
remained faithful to a party
which promised change and
eventually grasped power to
change in 2010, it is one which
feels used and neglected.
"They have we here for their
purpose when election come
they come around we place and
tell we all you will support we
and we so stupid we say yes
and the same thing they doing
we," she said.
It may seem like a rural
community but thousands pass
by these galvanised partitions
everyday on their commute.
Bangladesh is walking
distance from a major medical
complex and a growing
Agree strongly ...................................15.0
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