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Buccoo/Mt Pleasant

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By Anna Ramdass

There are some 4,042 voters listed in the electoral district of Buccoo/Mt Pleasant in Tobago, according to the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) supplemental list.

The district was under the control of the People's National Movement (PNM) for the past four years, with Albert Pilgrim as the representative. But Pilgrim has stepped down and paved the way for Ancil Dennis, 25, to contest the election for the PNM.

The Express spoke to Dennis, as well as competing candidates from the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) and The Platform of Truth (TPT) who share their vision for the future and why they should be elected to the THA.

A total of 36 candidates from the three parties will be contesting 12 electoral districts in the THA election on January 21.

PNM candidate: Ancil Dennis, 25, Republic Bank

customer service representative

Why should you be elected?

I have identified a number of needs in the community where development is concerned. I believe as a young, vibrant and innovative individual I can bring forward a lot of ideas that will help develop the community, especially where youths are concerned.

This is against the backdrop that the PNM has delivered in this area in terms of facilities that are available—we have the community centre, at least four in this district, the Buccoo integrated facility and the Mt Pleasant Pavilion.

We also have tennis courts, basketball courts and playing fields and I will ensure that sporting programmes are implemented to utilise these various facilities.

Apart from the youths, I intend to focus on the seniors as well. I believe senior citizens should be afforded the opportunities to experience enjoyment and comfort in their senior years.

Therefore I would ensure that each community centre has a comprehensive senior citizen activity programme that will allow for leisure activities, health and nutritional programmes.

Loneliness can become an issue and there are many cases where the seniors have no family in this district.

One of the things I plan to do is to establish a team comprising all the religious leaders, the village council president and other influential and key people within the community and this team will be responsible for assisting me as the representative in implementing the programmes and initiatives that will connect the people.

As the representative I cannot do it alone, I need the help of the people.

There are a lot of facilities but very little programmes, so I intend to deal with this by implementing programmes in the areas of leadership, financial management, entrepreneurship, school to work transitioning programmes and even drug rehabilitation and others.

I am a really humble servant of the people, that is how I will describe myself, having worked in Republic Bank in a service-oriented environment for the last seven years and having been involved in the youth ministry for almost all my teenage years.

This demonstrates my capacity to serve and provide leadership to the people of Buccoo/Mt Pleasant.

These are just a few reasons why I should be elected as their representative.

I am a man of character and integrity who will serve the people with transparency, honesty, decency and credibility.

TOP candidate: Richard Alfred, 68, retired public

servant/justice of the peace

Why should you be elected?

I would like to see the training and retraining of people in skills that will afford them employment, with a special focus on training that will allow them to benefit from the natural gas find off Tobago and the jobs that will come out of that.

I would like to see an improvement in entrepreneurship opportunities in promoting and assisting those who are in small businesses.

There should be the development of community programmes, sports, culture and family life with respect to the youths and senior citizens.

I would also want to place special interest in the improvement of tourism in Buccoo Point and create a must-visit site for tourists because of the natural resources we have in the area.

I would like to promote more community efforts so the people can come together, where there is unity.

People must understand how others live, we want to promote a harmonious community where in times of crisis everyone can come together and be his brother's keeper.

I have always been a community-centred person, serving the people is what I like. That has been my life and I don't want to change that.

I want to continue to serve the people at all levels.

I would like to say to the people of Tobago, take this opportunity to take control of your own affairs.

When you look around, no other organisation has really contributed as much to self-determination.

I ask the people to give yourself a chance, stand with an organisation that has your interest at heart and that has not worked against you over the years.

TPT candidate: Ricardo Phillip, 47, publisher

Why should you be elected?

What I can say is that when we get into office we will have a conversation with all the people, sit down and discuss what is best for them.

The notion that politicians have the solutions has not worked for us for the last umpteen years and I think we need to change the narrative of it and let the people know they are responsible for charting the future.

We should all work together, especially with the young people.

There is a lot of delinquency due to the lack of development programmes.

There are not enough adequate sporting facilities, we are not investing in our human resources.

The lifeblood of our society now is the young people, if we don't invest in them we are failing them miserably.

My own philosophy is we must leave this place better than we inherited it.

We have to create more opportunities for our young people, we have a lot of talent in Tobago.

I am president of the Carnbee/Mt Pleasant Sports Club and I work with young people all the time.

I sometimes take money from my own pocket to buy equipment when you have a Government spending millions and the young people are ignored.

When we get into office these are the ideas we have to move forward, investment heavily in the youth.

The Platform of Truth message is simple and consistent, if Tobago can self-determine where it wants to go, we would be able to treat with the challenges and achieve that.

The problem facing Tobago now is that there is too much external interference. Tobago treated fairly...if you have Tobago responsible for itself then Tobago will be answerable to its people.

The PNM has failed miserably and there are too many compromises with the TOP—too many external interference. A true Tobago party is the only party that will bring a solution to the chaos and confusion that rests on everybody's mind.

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