PNM ‘maxed out’ on Tobago voters


FILE PHOTO: PDP supporters wave flags at a political meeting at Signal Hill Recreation Ground earlier this year. –

Progressive democratic Patriots (PDP) deputy leader Dr Faith BYisrael believes the People’s National Movement (PNM) has “maxed out” on the percentage of the electorate willing to vote for them.

BYisrael was speaking to the Newsday on Sunday as the party intensified its campaign to contest the December 6 THA elections.

The election, the second in 11 months, will be the first in the THA’s history to feature 15 seats.

Analysing the unprecedented six-six result at the January 25, 2021 polls, BYisrael said a higher turnout than the 51.85 per cent achieved then would augur well for the PDP.

The PNM won the popular vote in the January elections, receiving 13,288 votes while the PDP got 12,798.

The EBC said there were 51,062 registered voters.

BYisrael said, “When we look at the voting pattern, in 2017 the PDP got a little over 7,500 votes while the PNM got 13,300. In 2021, with a slightly higher voter turnout, the PDP increased significantly to 12,700 while the PNM actually lost a couple votes.

“If you look at the districts with higher voter turnouts, those are actually the districts the PDP won in January 2021. So we believe, in essence, the PNM has actually maxed out the number of people willing to vote for them. The large number of undecided or the large number who will not vote, will vote for the PDP if they come out.”

BYisrael believes the election stalemate which has restricted the island’s administration for the last year will motivate the electorate to head to the polls in larger numbers.

“I think it would, because several of them have actually reached out to us saying they regretted not going out to vote in January.

“We are hoping for high turnout throughout the entire island, because that is what we need to make the difference.”

BYisrael also claimed the six PDP assemblymen have been treated unfairly since the election.

“What has transpired over the last eight months has convinced those who did not come out to vote, to give PDP a chance to govern Tobago.”

BYisrael said the PDP has made significant inroads since picking up two seats in the 2017 THA election and has kept their ears to the ground.

“We have never left the ground – I think that is why we were able to capture additional votes between 2017 to now.

“Even our candidates who did not win have consistently been representing their district. Our strategy is to continuously represent the people and I think they they would have seen that these few months.”

On the selection of candidates for the 15 electoral districts, BYisrael said the PDP is making sure they get the right people to fight the battle.

“Candidates are important and candidates are critical. That is why the PDP is going a very rigorous process, that is why we are having our independent screening committee go through all the candidates. And when I say all I mean all – myself included. And we have the action groups be a part of the process as well.

“Candidates are critical, but it isn’t the beginning and end of the story. You can have a great candidate but if they are part of an organisation that has governed for the last 21 years, even that great candidate would not help in reviving Tobago’s economy. So you can’t just watch a candidate but look at the organisation they represent.”

Newsday sent questions to PNM Tobago Council leader Tracy Davidson-Celestine and Innovative Democratic Alliance leader Dr Denise Tsoiafatt Angus asking which party would benefit from a higher turnout at the polls, but there was no response from either party up to press time on Sunday.

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