The People’s National Movement’s D’Abadie O’Meara executive will today present six nominees to screen for the seat. They include Arima mayor Lisa Morris-Julian, a former Arima deputy mayor and other professionals—but no party officials.
D’Abadie O’Meara chairman Herman Noel said yesterday that no nomination had been received from PRO Laurel Lezama-Lee Sing, whose name had been reported elsewhere. Lezama-Lee Sing was previously screened for Lopinot Bon Air but wasn’t chosen.
The nominees are being screened this evening at Queen’s Hall, Port-of-Spain. Screening is necessary after Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley last Sunday pulled D’Abadie O’Meara incumbent candidate Ancil Antoine from the general election team. This was after Antoine made insensitive and objectionable remarks about the United States during a campaign launch last Saturday.
In a recording which was posted on Facebook, Antoine is heard saying, “America is a sh**hole country. I’m sorry to say that, right? And we have to make sure that we don’t allow Americans to come into Trinidad. You know all those Americans, those Trinidadians, who run into America and need to send back all their barrels and so forth. Make sure you tell them to stay out of Trinidad for the rest of the year. All your family and them.”
Antoine apologised via social media, saying he made a statement of indiscretion. He said he asked Rowley to withdraw from PNM’s election team.
It was the second time Antoine’s comments had attracted negative spotlight Two weeks ago he was also under fire after making heated remarks to constituency executives over their reported failure to support his nomination.
Yesterday, Noel said new the nominees are Morris-Julian, Arima councillor Brennan Patterson, Sateish Ojah-Maharaj, attorney Shevon Nereiga, one-time deputy Arima mayor Lenore Panfile and energy sector employee Eileen Blackman.
Noel said Antoine has indicated he’d be willing to assist the new candidate.
The seat is the final one the PNM has to complete selection for. Before Antoine’s removal, the PNM had all 41 candidates. Forty of them were being ratified by the central executive last evening.
The T&T Guardian confirmed that the video with Antoine’s remarks was sent to the US Embassy last Saturday after he spoke. The situation comes on the heels of T&T trying to move on from strained relations with the US. That situation developed following UNC statements about a fuel shipment sold by Paria Fuel Trading to fuel tycoon Wilmer Ruperti which is alleged to have ended up in Venezuela and the visit of Venezuelan Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez for a meeting with Rowley in March.