The battle is on for the seat of Cunupia on the Chaguanas Borough Corporation as the countdown continues to Local Government Bye-Elections on Monday 25 January 2021.
Candidates Rasheed “Patos” Ali (PNM) and Richard Sukdeo (UNC) filed their nomination papers on Monday 4 January 2021, at the office of the Returning Officer on the Southern Main Road, Cunupia.
Ali was the first to file. He was escorted by a small entourage led by tassa drummers, who made the walk from his campaign offices located 100 metres north of the office of the Returning Officer.
After successfully filing his papers, Ali said he plans to put the squeeze on the authorities to deliver to the people. 70-year-old Ali, a popular businessman from the area, said Cunupia has suffered too long from a lack of infrastructure, bad roads and overgrown lots. Ali said it was high time that the PNM be given the chance to deliver to the people of Cunupia.
Ali said he was encouraged by the people of Cunupia to get up and do something. He said the community was not all that well represented by the past MP and Local Government Councillor.
“We will find funds. We will find a way to get things done,” the PNM candidate said.
Lennox Rattansingh, Ali’s campaign manager, said his candidate has already hit the ground running with a robust walkabout campaign. Rattansingh said all protocols regarding COVID-19 would be followed.
UNC candidate Richard Sukdeo showed up at the office shortly after 10 am. He was accompanied by a music truck and supporters. After filing his papers, Sukdeo came out flashing his receipt for the $2,000 filing fee.
65-year-old Sukdeo, a retired public servant, said his chances of winning are excellent. He said the UNC has represented the people of Chaguanas well at the local government level. When asked if he may be the eying the available post of Deputy Mayor of Chaguanas, he told Guardian Media:
“I can’t speak to that. I am here just filing these papers as a councillor.”
Sukdeo said he plans to ensure that issues surrounding public health and crime are handled.
Sukdeo said he plans to campaign online and on the streets while observing all COVID-19 protocols. He said the election day machinery was well oiled and he was ready to take the seat home for the UNC.
The seat became vacant when Vandana Mohit, the last councillor, gave up the post to contest the parliamentary seat for Chaguanas East in the 2020 General Election.