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Sandy: Calcutta talk did not hurt PNM

By Andre Bagoo in Tobago Tuesday, January 22 2013

HILTON SANDY, the PNM’s Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election candidate for Belle Garden East/Roxborough/Delaford, yesterday said he did not think the controversy surrounding his “Calcutta ship” statements affected the outcome of the election.

At the same time, Sandy described the campaign that has unfolded over the last few weeks as “rugged and heated”.

“I don’t see the statement (about Calcutta) as having any effect on the election as far as we are concerned,” Sandy told reporters after casting his vote early at the Scarborough Roman Catholic (RC) School, Bacolet Street, Tobago.

“We carried on our campaign. We like to deal with facts and in the PNM that is what we did. I discussed the issues affecting Tobagonians. We would have rallied around our leader and our personal constituents. What I have heard on the ground is that they want me to continue serving.”

He said, “After going through this rugged, heated campaign, I don’t see why the PNM should not be returned to control the Assembly for the next four years. We would have performed in the last four years.”

Sandy — who came under fire for remarks which suggested a ship from the Indian city of Calcutta would offload at Tobago — said he was concerned about reports that there were incidents of violence during the last days of campaign, though he did not give details of any specific events.

“I am very concerned that our election had to get down to this level where people were fighting and so on. Two incidents happened,” he said. Among the things he said the PNM wanted to implement were policies and programmes relating to ongoing projects.

“We have projects we are going to finish and we will turn a new page,” he said.

Under THA Chief Secretary Orville London, Sandy served as the Secretary for Infrastructure and Public Utilities. He could not say whether there was any update on complaints he made last week that his division was lacking funding disbursals from the Ministry of Finance –to the tune of $100 million – stating that the issue is one to be raised with the secretary in charge of finance. He said the aim of another PNM administration in power would be “to really get constituents’ views to find out what are the most critical things they would like addressed, like retaining walls, drainage concerns and so on.”

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