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(Mr. Sadiq Baksh Speaks At Palmiste Park, 3rd October 2002.)


PALMISTE NATIONAL MEETING

Political Leader, the Honourable Basdeo Panday;
My fellow foot-soldiers and ground troops of the UNC;
My fellow activists; my fellow loyalists;
My brothers and sisters; my friends, my colleagues on the ground floor

Let us give our Political Leader a warm San Fernando welcome!
My friends, on Monday October 7th Mr. and Mrs. Panday will be voting in San Fernando West. They will lead us to a double victory. Victory in San Fernando West! And Victory in Trinidad and Tobago! Make no mistake, this is a three-peat. Not a re-peat but a three-peat. From Monday, Election Day, October 7th, San Fernando West will be a safe UNC seat!

My friends, every citizen who truly cares for San Fernando West will celebrate our victory on Monday.
Every citizen who cares for our country will celebrate with us on Monday.
Every citizen who cares about safety will celebrate with us.
Every citizen who cares about security will join with us.
Every citizen who wants to get rid of crime will vote for us.
Every citizen who wants performance,
Every citizen who wants a government that has proven it can deliver,


Every citizen who feels the pain that that our country is now going through
will vote for our party, the United National Congress.

Every citizen who wants better housing, better accommodation, better living conditions and a better quality of life will vote for the UNC on October 7th.

The PNM has made many promises. They promised to build 3,000 houses in South Trinidad. Where are these houses? They said you could get a house for a dollar down. Where are those houses? My friends, in one year as Minister of Housing I delivered over 1,300 houses. What has the PNM done this year other than make grandiose promises?
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My friends, I continue to walk through my constituency and talk to my people. I will continue until midnight on Sunday, October 6th. This is the sixth time that I am going to visit every constituent in San Fernando West. Wherever I go, from Embacadere to Sunset Cove, from Marabella to Sumadh Gardens, from Palmiste to Vistabella, from Rambert Village to Duncan Village, people give me a warm and happy welcome. They are glad to see me. They know how well I have represented them and how much I care for them. Even the most fanatic PNM supporter will say that I am for everybody, I represent all the people of San Fernando West. We in the UNC do not discriminate against anybody. We make life better for everybody regardless of race, colour or creed. We are here to help not to hurt.
My friends, my job is to be part of the healing process. My job is to be part of the helping process. My job is to help restore the health of the nation and make the best use of the resources that we have.

In San Fernando we have seen the greatest neglect possible, not just this year, but all the years the PNM has been in power. As I walk around my Constituency, there are many signs of PNM neglect. The entrance to Sunset Cove has not started although the contract was given out a long time ago. Coastal erosion is creating problems in that whole area including Sunset Ridge, Gulf View and Bel Air. We will fix that.
We will also make sure that criminals cannot come by boat and break into your houses. We will improve the lighting and roads. We will make sure you are protected. We will make sure there are patrols. We will help you to set up neighbourhood watches. We will put the criminals, the drug-pushers and the kidnappers out of business. We will have joint patrols with the Defence Force and Police.
We will make sure that those who do the crime will do plenty time. We will increase the penalty for crimes against the person, and crimes against property.

We will also create more jobs. If we want to stop crime we must change the conditions that give rise to crime. We will make sure there are more jobs, and more training opportunities for young people. But my friends, you cannot undo the damage of forty years in six years.


You cannot have a sustainable solution to the problem of crime and unemployment in six years. We need more time. We need more time to create a safe and secure environment. We need more time to provide another 140,000 new jobs. When we add that to the 80,000 jobs we provided in our first term in office, we are talking about 220,000 jobs. 220,000 families who will be better off because of our party, the United National Congress.

 

We will continue the waterfront project to make sure that people have more opportunities to earn a living. People will have more options for transport. The wharf area will be a transit hub. The new jetty will be able to accommodate ferry boats. The Interchange and the Highway Extension to Cross Crossing are our contribution to ending the traffic-jams. Show me what Patrick Manning’s PNM has done. There is nothing to show.

My friends, this has been the worst year for business in San Fernando. In fact, it is the worst year for business in the whole of Trinidad and Tobago. Even the doubles vendors complaining. If they think things bad now, it will be worse if the PNM wins. Do you know that the PNM wants to move out the taxi-stands and put a building in the Chancery Lane car-park? Do you know that they want to cut down San Fernando Hill and put up apartments like the ones in Pleasantville? If you know that and you don’t vote for the UNC, you deserve the violence and racism that is part and parcel of PNM power. You deserve Sanderson and Eddy Hart.
My friends, even though you never voted the PNM into office, you have to vote them out. If you care for San Fernando, you have to vote out the PNM for good!

We have to vote them out so we can restore San Fernando to its former glory. We must make San Fernando the industrial, energy, services and cultural capital of Trinidad and Tobago once more. We have to make Skinner’s Park the Mecca for organised sports in South. We have to restore Naparima Bowl as a unique cultural centre for the performing arts.
We must breathe new life into the commercial centre of San Fernando, stretching from High Street to Mucurapo Street. The UNC is good for business. The PNM is bad for business. The PNM is bad business. In fact, the PNM is just bad. Bad! Bad!

They are even victimising blind people! The UNC made a commitment to the Blind Welfare Association to give them a deed to the land they now occupy. The PNM has refused to give them the land. You know why? I am sure a land developer, or real estate agent, is eyeing that piece of property. They just waiting to move out the blind people.

My friends, we have to help the blind. We have to help the lame and the crippled. We have to heal the sick. We have to house the homeless. The PNM will only help themselves and house themselves and their supporters. They will help themselves to the resources and riches of the country as they have done in the past, and as they will do in the future.

WE, we of the UNC, we have to help our country. We have to replace PNM confrontation with UNC communication. We have to replace PNM dictatorship with UNC dialogue. We have to replace PNM victimisation with UNC vision.

Marabella is a good example of the difference between us and the PNM. My opponent said she only went to the train-line because she was a candidate in the election. I have been visiting that area and helping people there long before I became a candidate.

The people of Pakistan, Sea Lots and all the other communities are not there by choice. They have shown that they want better lives for themselves and their families. We have worked together to improve their standard of living. Now, we will do more, through better housing and better drainage. The PNM had a chance this year and they did nothing. That is because the PNM is a scaring government and not a caring government. They are still trying to fool people. Instead of a campaign, they are running a scam-paign.

My friends, like the rest of you who live in Palmiste, I put up my money to develop the sewerage facility. But citizens by themselves cannot finance such a large project. I know that. Tonight, you have my solemn commitment that the UNC government will take over the plant and improve the facility. Two years ago, I promised to fix the roads and you they were fixed. I promised you an Interchange and you got it. I am now promising you adequate and well-maintained sewerage facilities. Once we are in power, you will get them. You will also have a park here that will be the envy of Trinidad and Tobago. This park does not only serve Palmiste. It is already to South and San Fernando what the Savannah is to Port of Spain. We will make it safe and secure so that whether night or day you can use it without fear.

My friends, this is a massive crowd here tonight. I thank you and congratulate you for being here. I know what it takes to come out in the night. It takes a lot of courage and commitment. However, I also know that there are many other people at home tonight who would have liked to be here, but they are afraid to travel at night. They are afraid of PNM victimisation. They are afraid of the crime that has escalated under the PNM. My friends, too many people in our society are living behind bars, not prison bars, but burglar bars in their own homes. We have entered a disturbing new era, one where we have sentenced ourselves and our families to imprisonment. That is no way to live. Our citizens deserve to live their lives in peace and tranquillity, free from fear. Why should people in Palmiste, in Sumadh Gardens, in Gulf View. in Bel Air, in Marabella, in Sunset Cove, in Sunset Ridge, in Coconut Drive and Green Acres, in Paradise, Rambert and La Romaine, and in every single street, neighbourhood, community and village have to live in fear?

You work hard for your money. Nobody knows the sacrifices you have made. Nobody knows the sacrifices you continue to make so that your children will have the opportunities you did not have. That is why you should vote for us. This is why we will create permanent jobs instead of relying on ten-days. That is why our philosophy is the right one. We have to use our oil wealth so that everyone in Trinidad and Tobago, every creed and race will have an equal place.

My friends, nobody can accuse me of being racist. Nobody can say that I do not care for the people of San Fernando, and for the people of Trinidad and Tobago. I am colour blind. I only see people in need through no fault of their own. I see children who will have no future unless they are given every opportunity to be the best they can be. I don’t care about the corridors of power. I am concerned about the corridors of service.

Rain or shine, wet or dry, day or night, come hell or high-water, I am here for you my people of San Fernando West. This is our country and together we must take it back. Together we will take it forward into a future that is peaceful and prosperous, safe and secure, a haven and a hostel for all. That is my dream. That is my vision.
Long live the Political Leader!
Long live the people of San Fernando!
Long live the UNC!
Long live Mother Trinidad and Tobago!