PEP, Re-United Farmers to Contest All LGE Seats

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By Prior Beharry

DISMISSING the call by the political leader of the United National Congress (UNC) Kamla Persad-Bissessar, two relatively new political parties have joined forces to fight the local government elections on their own.

The Progressive Empowerment Party (PEP) held a joint press conference on Wednesday with the Re-United Farmers Alliance to announce they will fight all 141 seats up for grabs in the 14 regional corporations on August 14, 2023. The press conference was held at MovieTowne Banquet Hall at Invaders

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Political Leader of the PEP Phillip Edward Alexander said his party will also be engaging with other interest groups to form a strong coalition.

Leading the Re-United Farmers, Davica Thomas said her organisation was born four years ago as a lobby group on behalf of the food crop farmers who were plagued with issues such as praedial larceny, no or limited access to their lands, flooding and other issues.

She said Re-United Farmers was also actively lobbying for some of the ex-caroni workers, who were still waiting 20 years for their VSEP packages to be delivered to them.
Thomas said there were 3,398 ex-workers who were still awaiting their residential leases while 3,000 were still waiting for their agricultural leases with 1,000 leases yet to be allocated.
She said two years ago when they asked for support for their campaign to force the Government to settle the ex-Caroni workers VSEP packages, Alexander was among a number people who showed up.
Thomas said others included the late Justice Herbert Volney, David Abdallah Mr Raul Henry, Isa Mohammed, Kiel Taklalsingh, Dinesh Rambally, Kirt Sinnette and others.
Thomas said, “After numerous discussions on the way forward as a political party, our members which now stands at 72,000 members signed up, giving us authorization to register the Re-United Farmers group as a political party.”
She said the Re-United Farmers was registered with the Election and Boundaries Commission (EBC) and other groups who wants to joining can contest the local government elections under their symbol.
Alexander said the offer from the UNC was not feasible at this time.
He explained that the two parties will share contesting seats at the corporations under their individual symbol.
Asked about splitting of the votes that will favour the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM), Alexander said, “I think the PNM should also be very concerned about splitting the vote. The people are very unhappy with the PNM right now and splitting the vote and taking votes is how politics is supposed to work.
“What is supposed to end up in government are the people who capture the most votes.”
He added, “The UNC traditionally has been a bit weak in the last couple of elections and that’s up to them to sort out. The voters want representation and they shouldn’t be stuck playing eeny, meeny, miny, moe. They should be given a chance because if they vote the way they’ve been voting before, they’re still not gonna get representation.
“It’s best they take a chance right now and that’s what we’re gonna be selling, the idea that this is so
Alexander said, “This is so outside the pale of politics, as usual, there is every likelihood, especially as it is two organisations that are made up of people who have been helping and solving problems and delivering for decades, that people should come out in their numbers and take a chance for themselves, for betterment. What the local government is supposed to do for this country is never done.”
He said PEP has about 35,000 members and have already screened about 150 people who wanted to contest the LGE.
In February 2022, the PEP contested the Debe South bye-elections with its candidate Lorenzo Rodney Sammy who attained 120 votes losing to the UNC’s candidate Khemraj Sunil Seecharan with 1,650 votes. The PNM candidate Judy Sookdeo managed 25 votes.


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