Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 19th 2015 Contents A5
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
With 19 days to go before elec-
tion day and the campaign inten-
sifying, an Independent Liberal
Party member yesterday accused
the United National Congress
(UNC) of spreading a false rumour
that he had approached them to
Making the accusation is ILP
councillor Simeon Mahabir, who
denied allegations that he had
sought $2.5 million from UNC
operatives to cross the floor.
"I am not for sale," Mahabir, who
is the Local Government represen-
tative for Munroe Road/Caroni
Savannah, told the T&T Guardian.
"Who would want an all-
expenses paid trip on the Titanic?"
But in an immediate response,
deputy political leader of the UNC
Dr Roodal Moonilal described
Mahabir s denial as "rubbish."
Moonilal promised that "on the
campaign trail I will ask this paragon
of virtue why he came to see me
at the San Fernando Teaching Hos-
pital some months ago."
"But not today...," he said, taking
a cue from ILP leader Jack Warn-
er.Mahabir charged that the
rumours, which he described as
"false and malicious," started over
a post on the UNC s Facebook page
"I wish to most strongly deny
the rumours started by and being
circulated by operatives of the UNC
on social media today, and to con-
demn the dirty tricks campaign of
lies and deception being conducted
by the UNC," Mahabir said in a
He emphasised that he was and
would remain a member of the ILP.
"My integrity and my reputation
are not for sale."
Mahabir said, however, that he
had previously been approached by
"operatives of the UNC" to sell out
his party in exchange for a generous
sum. He said since 2013 offers had
been made, in very subtle and
sometimes direct ways, by people
associated with the UNC including
a senior government minister, a
councillor and two prominent
Chaguanas businessmen, encour-
aging him to jump ship.
"I thought this was made crystal
clear to the UNC when their oper-
atives approached me in 2013 with
a bribe of $5 million to sell out my
party, my burgesses, my family and
my good name to jump on the UNC
bandwagon, an offer which I pub-
However, he said, on Tuesday
morning he was bombarded with
calls and messages from friends
and family members who informed
him of a post on a UNC Facebook
page which said he had approached
the UNC for $2.5 million to cross
the floor and that "I would give
them dirt on ILP officials."
He said this caused panic among
his loved ones, but he had done no
such thing, though the claim would
sully his name.
Mahabir said he had remained
mum on these issues and not
reported it to the police "out of fear
for the lives of my family and my
own life." However, he said, he could
no longer guarantee his silence and
advised the UNC, "There is no price
for which I would sell my soul."
Four-year-old Emmanuel Black
may not go back to school this Sep-
tember after he fell into an incom-
plete box drain where a protruding
steel rod injured his right eye.
The child spent four days at the
San Fernando General Hospital after
Now that he has been released his
parents are planning to take legal
action against the contractors and
In an interview yesterday, his father
Dexter Black said the project at Julien
Street, East California, was aban-
doned four months ago when vil-
lagers chased the contractor from
the job site.
"Apparently, people wanted work
and they chased the contractor away.
Instead of bringing the police to the
job site and completing the project,
the Ministry of Works just left every-
thing there," Black said.
Around 6.20 pm last Thursday,
Black was walking along the road
with his two children, Emmanuel
and two-year-old Matthew, when a
neighbour called out to him.
"I told her that I was going to a
parlour and she wanted a soft drink.
As I turned to her to collect the
money I heard a splash. My son had
slipped off the bridge and fell into
the drain where the steel was sticking
out," Black said.
The drain had oily, stagnating
water but a steel rod used in con-
structing the drain stuck Emmanuel
in his eye.
"His eye started to swell up. His
whole face swell up. I bathed him
off and we rushed him to the Couva
Health Centre," Black said.
Emmanuel, a student of the Morn-
ing Star Early Childhood School, was
taken by ambulance to the San Fer-
nando General Hospital where he
underwent emergency surgery. The
medical team was able to sew his
torn eyelid. However, Black said,
because of swelling they could not
determine whether Emmanuel would
lose his eye.
"They told me his iris had a scrape
and if there are any particles of steel
in the eye he could lose it," Black
told the T&T Guardian.
He said he was very disturbed
about the accident as it could have
been avoided if the drain were com-
"This is a hazard and I feel uneasy
not knowing what the future holds
for my son. I have already requested
the medical records and I am looking
for an attorney who can assist me
in whatever way," Black said.
He added that he planned to write
to Works Minister Dr Suruj Ram-
bachan for assistance. Anyone wish-
ing to assist the family can call 347-
0625 or 318-5220.
Efforts to contact Rambachan for
comment on his cellular phone went
Dexter Black, his son Emmanuel and wife, Rita, walk past the unfinished box drain
which their son fell into recently, injuring his right eye. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
A total of 132 candidates rep-
resenting 16 political parties filed
nomination papers on Monday
to contest the 41 constituencies
in T&T on September 7.
Among the candidates are four
independents, namely Phillip
Alexander (Diego Martin West),
Errol Fabien (St Joseph), Jowelle
De Souza (San Fernando West) and
Watson Duke (Tobago East).
Only the People s National
Movement (PNM) has fielded a
full slate as a single entity.
The People s Partnership, which
is made up of four parties---the
United National Congress (UNC),
Congress of the People (COP),
Tobago Organisation of the People
(TOP) and the National Joint
Action Committee (NJAC)---com-
bined forces to offer 41 candidates.
The UNC has the largest slate in
the partnership, fielding 28.
The third contender in the race,
which many see as a straight fight
between the PNM and the UNC,
the Independent Liberal Party
(ILP), is offering an alternative with
There are also a number of new-
comers to the political race, such
as the Trinidad Humanity Cam-
paign (THC), which is offering
three candidates; the Tobago For-
wards; and the Platform of Truth.
Fuad Abu Bakr, who has entered
the race before, is fielding three
candidates under his New National
The most hotly contested seats
in this election are Tobago East
and Diego Martin West, with a
total of six candidates each battling
for victory. The incumbent for
Diego Martin West is PNM political
leader Dr Keith Rowley. Among
the contenders are two independ-
ents Alexander and Duke.
Tobago West comes a close sec-
ond with five candidates hoping
to be declared the next member
of Parliament come September 7.
The two Tobago seats are up for
grabs following the rejection by
the TOP of the two former MPs
Vernella Alleyne-Toppin and Dr
There is only one other con-
tender for the Siparia seat held by
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar. He is the PNM s Vidya
Deokiesingh of the PNM. (YW)
Boy, 4, injures eye after
falling into box drain
ILP exec denies seeking $2.5m to cross floor
UNC can't buy
132 candidates vie for 41 seats on Sept 7
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