San Fernando West candidates, Sean Sobers, left, of the UNC and PNM’s Faris Al- Rawi, give thumbs ups after crossing paths while campaigning on Leotaud Street, San Fernando, on Monday

UNC San Fernando West candidate Sean Sobers thinks PNM opponent Faris Al- Rawi is a decent guy whose plate is too full to handle the seat— but Sobers says he intends to “make it real” in San Fernando West with plans including the first Government Special Needs School.

Sobers spoke about his plans at UNC’s San Fernando West meeting on Monday night. Earlier, he and Al Rawi— both attorneys—“bounced” while on walkabouts.

San Fernando West is among five marginals that are of crucial importance to the August 10 election outcome. Sobers has been campaigning since January when he was announced.

Sobers said he knows Al-Rawi very well. “I think he’s a decent guy but he’s absent from the area, he doesn’t live in San Fernando West . His plate is full as Attorney General, and he’s focused his energy there,“ he said.

Sobers wants to transform the constituency— not merely change it. “We’re always hearing about ‘change and change and change … it’s the easier things to tell somebody when you meet them. But let’s transform San Fernando West and T&T,” he added.

He said he told UNC leader Kamla Persad- Bissessar that he just wanted a chance.

“And she watch me and said ‘this is people’s lives you talking about, it’s not Lotto or bran tub – you need an opportunity. And she said she’d give me an opportunity, I ‘d like everyone to partner with me to give San Fernando West and T&T an opportunity,’’ he noted.

Sobers sees the Petrotrin -bereft San Fernando West becoming a beacon of hope though engagement of more youths in activities including sports, outfitting community centres as learning resources locations and having a Government Special Needs school.

Sobers said he had his brush with the latter situation. “If there was a Government school to treat with youths who have those problems …. SF West would be the first to have this,” he said.

He added on other plans, “Sometimes you’re forced into a life of crime, nobody’s listening to you. We have brilliant sports men and women. We can have more. We plan annual sports days . Activist Jason of the Marabella Line has proposed the Street Jam plan for community spirit,”

“One event will be on Sunday at Naparima College grounds, “We’re listening to you and engaging the people – that’s making it real,“ Sobers said.

He plans restructuring the Mucurapo Street market and Kings Wharf . On the Waterfront Project, he said, ”If something’s good we’ll review it and continue. If bad, we’ll change it and continue . If it’s terrible, then we’ll have to stop it.”

Sobers said his six- month walkabout showed him deep hurt among constituents.

He said, “It was a huge surprise to find out how much pain people are in. And it’s not only in the last five years. It’s been amplified in that time, but it’s been there longer than that – and we have to take that squarely on the nose and understand where we go from there.”

He said he’d been accused by many that as a politician, they wouldn’t see him again for the next five years. “And I’ll be someone who’ll whisper sweet nothings and won’t deliver. Dealing with an electorate like that, how does one respond and coax them out of a situation like that filled with hopelessness and pain?”

“ I also see (hopelessness and pain) in the eyes of some of you here tonight. It’s a difficult task…..All I can indicate is I’d like your support— just a couple years ago I was just as hurt as you, feeling the same pain and T&T was also feeling it. Our enemy is poverty, crime joblessness , repeated empty promises . It’s our time to halt that.”