Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 4th 2013 Contents A8
Friday, October 4, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
While the ILP may be out of the local govern-
ment election race in one San Juan seat---after
the candidate for that area was detained for gun
and ammunition---the party is still confident of
winning San Juan and a handful of other seats,
says ILP chairman Robin Montano.
On Wednesday it was reported the ILP candidate
was detained at Morvant Police Station after he
was allegedly held with a Beretta .45 pistol and
12 rounds of ammunition in a car in Morvant, on
Tuesday night. He was questioned by police after
a shooting incident in central Trinidad. The man
has since been charged.
Montano, asked by T&T Guardian on Wedneday
about the situation, said while the ILP leadership
hadn t heard the candidate s story up until then---
and would seek an explanation---he didn t think
the Elections and Boundaries Commission would
allow the person to contest once they were
charged. He also noted that nomination day had
passed on Monday---the deadline for candidates
to file nomination forms.
Montano said the ILP s screening team didn t
have a lot of time to check things out concerning
candidates and relied heavily for information on
regional co-ordinators for the various areas as
well as on lengthy forms the candidates had to
He said the team also relied on candidates telling
them the truth and on things being done prop-
"Screening was as thorough and professional
as we could make it, but we may have to redesign
and tighten our system or look at it again," he
Montano said the ILP s screening team had
gone out and met people from "all over." The
team comprises ILP leader Jack Warner, Montano,
deputy leaders Lyndira Oudit and Anna Deonarine
and the various regional co-ordinators.
He said the process involves a system of each
member grading candidates up to a maximum of
five stars on criteria such as appearance and ability
to speak as well as other types of qualifications.
Points awarded by screening team members were
Montano said candidates had to produce a police
certificate of good character with no convictions
as well as answering many questions on the ILP s
He said he didn t know how the San Juan can-
didate came through the system, but expected
the candidate would have produced a police cer-
tificate and got the requisite points on other
He said after the ILP closed screening, several
people came forward with certain allegations
against two candidates before Nomination Day.
"The San Juan candidate was not one of those
we were told of...We attempted to check out the
allegations and in each case we were satisfied
there were no criminal charges pending and police
said they had no intention of filing any criminal
charges," Montano explained.
"We have the disadvantage of being the new
kid on the block to mount a national campaign.
We had to multiply our size to accommodate 136
seats in 14 corporations---one heck of an organ-
isational nightmare. After winning Chaguanas
West in July we were duly organised in one con-
stituency and had no offices elsewhere in T&T.
"When July was over, we decided to contest
only three corporations for local government---
Chaguanas, Tabaquite and Tunapuna---as we didn t
have resources to go nationally and we felt we
could make in those three areas very easily and
had the organisational capacity to do it.
We felt if we could win those three areas,
we d be proud.
"But to our surprise we found ourselves
bombarded with requests from all over
T&T to represent people and contest
other corporations and it was difficult
to turn down such requests. We re
stretched so thin, if you twanged ILP,
you d hear the highest note ever. We ve
literally worked day and night."
Montano said as a result of being
stretched so thin, the ILP had fallen down
in organisation and screening in one or
two seats. But he felt the party s efforts
so far had been "heroic" and the party
had attracted a crowd of more than
20,000 at last Sunday s launch.
He said he had been campaigning in
PNM areas and "PNM people under 50
are coming to us in droves. I also under-
stand we re attracting the under-50s in
PP areas, but the over-50s aren t shifting
on both sides, it seems.
"So even with this San Juan issue, we ll
still take San Juan-Laventille, Sangre
Grande, Diego Martin and Tunapuna,
and we re looking really good in Arima.
We re taking equally from both the PNM
and PP, and the COP is truly dead."
ILP to tighten screening system
Montano on candidate facing gun charges:
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