Aspiring People’s National Movement (PNM) leader Pennelope Beckles-Robinson stirred a jam session at Blue Diamonds panyard during a walkabout in East Port of Spain yesterday.
In the build-up to the PNM’s internal elections on Sunday, Beckles-Robinson and her team walked through the capital city, where people both young and old flocked to her and expressed their concerns, the primary one being the need for redevelopment of the area.
Many schoolchildren surrounded Beckles-Robinson and asked for her autograph, while some of them, such as Le Sean, who is ten years old, and Jovon Noel, showed their pan moves at Blue Diamonds panyard.
Ronald Alleyne told the Express that children are taught from the age of six and onward how to play the pan and this was a service that Blue Diamonds offered to the people and to keep the children on the right track.
Irwin Wilson, Blue Diamonds public relations officer, said that former prime minister Dr Eric Williams had supported the band and utilised its services to celebrate political victories.
Wilson said, since then, financial support has been lacking.
Beckles-Robinson also made a stop at K-Mar’s supermarket on Queen’s Street, where Martin Gonzales offered his praises.
Gonzales said he preferred Beckles-Robinson as the PNM leader as she was more personable and people-friendly as opposed to Dr Keith Rowley.
Raquel Sandy, a PNM member who greeted Beckles-Robinson, told her the people want to see more of their representatives on the ground to listen to them first-hand and work with them on improving the communities.
Winston Frederick, a vendor, told Beckles-Robinson that if she is elected leader, he would like her to lobby for a vending market on George Street as currently exists on Charlotte Street.
He said he has been vending for more than 32 years on George Street and there was need for better sanitary conditions.
“The PNM under Mr Manning and under Mr Rowley is a waste of time. Miss Beckles is a lady with a lot of class and we voting class,” said Lystra Jack, who greeted Beckles-Robinson on Nelson Street.
Another woman, Angela Mohammed, complained to Beckles-Robinson about her housing woes. She said she has been renting for the past 59 years and was in need of housing.
She said there was also need for more police presence in the area and for development of the infrastructure, such as the school.
Kenrick Made, a tailor, told Beckles-Robinson that he would like to see East Port of Spain develop in the same way that areas such as San Fernando and other parts of the country were being changed.
“We deserve something nice too,” he said.
Beckles-Robinson told the Express the people clearly know what they want in terms of what was good for their well-being and that of their community.
She said they have even expressed to her that they were willing to temporarily relocate to facilitate redevelopment of the area.
Beckles-Robinson noted the immense talent of the young children at Blue Diamonds pan yard, saying that a lot of good comes out from areas that have a negative stigma and more must be done to assist them in their own growth and development as they are the future leaders of the country.