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Change of heart during Alleyne’s walk in St Joseph
UNC’s St Joseph candidate Ian Alleyne managed to get initially hostile residents of Spring Valley, Mt D’Or, to put on his party T-shirts and accompany him on a walkabout in rain yesterday. “I telling you the truth, Mr Alleyne, the people don’t like you up here,” a Bobo Shanti who identified himself to Alleyne as “the honourable Priest Shakall, a priest after the Order of Melchizedek,”, shouted after the former Crime Watch host. Dave Robert, another resident, complained, “Is only poor people getting wetting after wetting.”
Shakall, part of a small group gathered in front of Stephen Rivers’ shop, had earlier told the T&T Guardian that neither Alleyne nor any other politician could help the people of the small community off the Eastern Main Road, which has been associated with crime and unemployment. They did not know Alleyne was doing a walkabout in the area as part of his election campaign for Monday’s St Joseph by-election. Other members of the group said they were traditional supporters of the PNM.
A green-band maxi taxi brought a small group of supporters from Chaguanas and some expressed fear of the area. At exactly what point Mt D’Or residents had a change of heart was not clear but Alleyne went ahead with his walkabout, with a music truck blasting campaign songs. Out of nowhere, a band of young men from the area appeared wearing yellow UNC jerseys, mostly on their heads. The rain came down but that did not stop Alleyne, who continued to walk with a handful of supporters, while the rest sheltered.
The large umbrella over his head did not prevent him from getting soaked. He walked from point to point in Spring Valley, at times stopping in the middle of the road in the rain, water streaming past his feet, and consulting with a contractor. Robert, who had earlier shouted to Alleyne that he was only “wetting” poor people, stood with a group of UNC supporters under a bus shed, a yellow jersey slung across his shoulder.
“We have to come out and offer whatever support we could, no matter what,” he told the T&T Guardian. After his walkabout, Alleyne said he had never seen so much poverty before. He added: “Infrastructure in the area is terrible. “I have already started to make phone calls and things are happening. “We identified several projects and I asked the contractor to ensure the young men in the area get work.”
Alleyne, who also visited the St Joseph Government Primary School earlier in the day, said he had so far started over 20 projects in St Joseph.
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