Diego Martin North/East ELECTORATE – 28,991

A look at Diego Martin North/East… “IMBERT IS A LUCKY POLITICIAN

By Peter Green

If there is a person called a lucky politician, that person has to be Colm Imbert.

Imbert has been the Member of Parliament for Diego Martin East (now Diego Martin North/East) since 1991.
He was given this constituency by Patrick Manning who became Prime Minister for the first time in 1991. This constituency is a big one which crosses from Maraval into Petit Valley.
Diego Martin North/East has a number of influential communi­ties and high profile personalities.
Imbert, an engineer, was made Minister of Works and Trans­port, in 1991 and there was hope throughout the country that there would be a lot of infrastructural improvement works across the country.
But that never happened.

A Flooded Maraval River

Right in his own back yard, flooding was a major problem. Every time it rained heavily, the Maraval River burst its banks and put constituents through Hell. Many people in residential areas such as La Sieva, Anderson Ter­race, Fairways and Lower Mara­val suffer millions in losses on an annual basis.
Yet, Imbert, during his stint as the Minister of Works and Trans­port, came up with no solutions. Imbert won this seat eight times, during five of which he has been in Government.
One resident of La Sieva, Em­manuel Castro, says he has been to Imbert’s constituency office on many occasions pleading for help. “But none came and not even to­day as Minister of Finance is any expected.
I remember when we got badly hit in 2011. Kamla was here, and Jack Warner too. I remember Jack walking through the mud with the people from the Ministry of Works. There was a husband and wife couple, both lawyers, who complained that all that was needed was a retaining wall. You know what, Jack ensured the wall was built and since then no more flooding in this area. Regrettably, the husband, who later became a judge, has since died.”
Greta Mahabir lives in Para­min, said she has voted for Im­bert in every election. “I am not a PNM, but I like the man. He comes across as sincere, but he never did anything for the people of Paramin. Walk the streets of Paramin and you will hear the residents for yourself. There are too many unemployed youths and they stealing our crops to make a living. Doh talk about the water supply. Good thing rain falling and we ketching it.”
Mahabir does not expect the roads to be paved in time for the next elections. “But I, like the rest of this community, am hopeful. We don’t see Imbert. I go to his office, but I don’t get to see him, or he is not there. I tried to go to the Ministry of Finance build­ing….waste of time….Imbert is not a people person.”
Le Platte is another area in the constituency which suffers for water. A drive through this area shows one thing – plenty drums at the side of the road to collect water. However, some residents are not hopeful they will ever get a 24-hour water supply in their lifetime.
Constituents say Diego Martin North/East is traditionally a PNM seat, except in 1986 when it went to Anthony Smart of the NAR.
Even under the NAR, the con­stituency has suffered. According to residents, every now and then, the Saddle Road is paved. But the Saddle Road has become too small for the number of commuters. Traf­fic is a daily nightmare, morning and afternoons.
Another resident, Michael Bom­parte, took Sunshine Today to have a look at the Maraval River when dry. Bush, trees and boulders. When it rains, they see fridges and stoves going down the river. It has not been cleaned in years and as far as he is concerned, nobody cares.
“This place has too many rich people and influential persons. But they don’t complain and they take what they get.”
He said Imbert was more con­cerned about Tax Amnesty and the Revenue Authority.
He said there was total neglect of our heritage sites the Water Wheel and Blue Basin Water Fall in Diego Martin. Because of the increase in criminal activity, people are hardly venturing to the Water Fall.
The question remains, will Im­bert be going back again in 2020? a man who won his seat by a mere 400 votes in 2010! After acting as Prime Minister on more than 24 occasions and the power of political office with his eye on the Prime Ministership after Rowley, only time will tell!

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