The People’s National Movement has won the district of Belmont East, while the United National Congress took the Barataria district in yesterday’s hotly contested by-elections, to replace councilors in the Port of Spain City Corporation and the San Juan-Laventille Regional Corporation respectively.
From unofficial results released last evening, PNM Candidate Nicole Young got 566 votes, to take that seat in the Port of Spain Corporation. The UNC’s Lianna Babb-Gonzales polled 151 votes while Felicia Holder of the Progressive Empowerment Party secured fifty-one votes. Some 3,000 persons were eligible to vote in this contest.
Turning the tables in the Barataria, the UNC’s Sharon Maraj-Dharam got 1933 votes, a hundred and eight (108) more than the PNM’s Kimberly Small, with 1825 votes. Christophe Samlal of the PEP managed 61 votes in this race. Miss Maraj-Dharam’s win here means that the UNC has gained one district as the PNM’s majority in San Juan-Laventille has been reduced by one.
Both by-elections were the result of the deaths in office of councillors who had been elected in local government elections held in 2016. Former Belmont Councillor Pernell Bruno died on July 8, 2017, while Barataria Councillor Darryl Rajpaul died on November 18, last year.
Speaking to PNM supporters last evening, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said despite the defeat in Barataria, he is keen to contest the 2020 general elections as he believes the PNM is still the country’s best option.
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar addressing supporters in Barataria last night said the party’s victory in Barataria and its gains in Belmont, sent a strong message to the PNM.