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Cox stays out PNM elections

By Clint Chan Tack Monday, February 3 2014

PEOPLE’s National Movement (PNM) Laventille East/Morvant MP Donna Cox yesterday said she will not be contesting any post in the party’s internal elections on May 18.

However Cox said she welcomes the decision by the PNM’s General Council to institute a code of conduct, rules and regulations for the elections, which will see the use of the one man one vote system for the first time in its 58-year history.

Following a marathon meeting at its Balisier House headquarters on January 29, the General Council approved May 18 as the date for the internal elections and March 14 as Nomination Day

A preliminary voters list will be issued on April 14, with the final voters list to be released on April 30. The cut off date for new membership, regarding persons who will be eligible to vote in the elections, is February 28.

Asked whether she was contesting any post on May 18, Cox replied, “No. I am not contesting any post.” Prior to the PNM’s internal elections in October 2012, Cox was the party’s lady vice- chairman. She was defeated in those elections by former senator Pennelope Beckles-Robinson by a margin of 117 votes. While there has been speculation that Beckles-Robinson may challenge PNM political leader Dr Keith Rowley for his post, Beckles-Robinson has not indicated whether or not she will do so.

Speculation about Beckles-Robinson challenging Rowley arose last December when Rowley, the Opposition Leader, advised President Anthony Carmona to revoke the senatorial appointments of Beckles-Robinson and Fitzgerald Hinds. Beckles-Robinson has publicly said her relationship with Rowley is good.

On the code of conduct which the General Council approved for the elections, Cox said, “I think the code of conduct is indeed necessary.”

PNM chairman Franklin Khan said it is mandatory for all candidates to sign the code of conduct which deals with issues such as the use of the media, campaign financing and slander. They said candidates will be strictly prohibited from attacking the personality of their rivals.

The code of conduct and election rules were created by a committee chaired by former attorney general Bridgid Annisette-George.

Cox agreed with the necessity of the election rules, stating that they “provide pertinent guidelines,” as to how the election should be conducted. She said these rules are necessary because she observed “certain undesirable behaviour in the last internal election.”

Cox, who had been the subject of an assault complaint by a party member last year, declined to say what that behaviour was, if it was reported to anyone in the PNM’s leadership or if any action was taken about it.

Former PNM chairman Conrad Enill said he has no interest in seeking a post on May 18. “Absolutely not,” he told Newsday. Enill supported Rowley’s move to introduce one man one vote into the PNM. He said while the party is making progress in widening its support base, it “needs to do more.”

Today, Rowley resumes his “Meet the Constituencies” tour in the San Fernando East constituency of former Prime Minister Patrick Manning with a meeting at Pleasantville Community Centre, San Fernando at 7pm.

Rowley will hold similar meetings at Fyzabad Community Centre tomorrow and Belmont Secondary School on Wednesday.

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