‘I’ll lead PNM to victory again’
By Sasha Harrinanan Wednesday, February 12 2014
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My leader: PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley waves as he responds to the applause of chairman Franklin Khan and supporters during a meeting at Chaguanas Nort...
The People’s National Movement (PNM), under the leadership of Dr Keith Rowley, has been very successful in three of the four elections held last year - Tobago House of Assembly (THA), St Joseph Bye-Election and the Local Government Election.
That’s why during a visit to the Chaguanas East constituency on Monday evening, Rowley advised party members not to listen to “advisers (who) are advising us to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory” by voting for someone else as political leader during the May 18 internal elections. He was referring to the results of two polls conducted by Solution by Simulation. “The poll says that the days of the UNC are numbered, that come hell or high water, the PNM is moving inexorably to victory in the next general election...That same poll is telling you that if you vote for somebody else, you would win more seats.”
While not openly saying he was the better choice of leadership, rather than former Senator, Pennelope Beckles-Robinson, Rowley did list sweeping electoral victories gained under his tenure as political leader.
“So you wouldn’t win all 12 seats in Tobago, you would win more than 12. You wouldn’t win all the seats in Port-of-Spain, you would win more than the 12 that they have. And you wouldn’t win all in Diego Martin, you would win more than the 10. You wouldn’t win all in Arima, you will win more than that. You wouldn’t win all in Point Fortin and you wouldn’t win bring them (other parties) close to diarrhoea in Siparia and Chaguanas,” Rowley declared, to the delight of those who attended the meeting at the Ibrahim Ishmael Hall at Chaguanas North Secondary School, Montrose, Chaguanas. The incumbent PNM leader questioned the message being sent by the poll results, saying, “You who followed me and the team to victory in three elections, now that a poll is confirming that the PNM will win the next election, that same poll is telling you ‘Change the leader. Give we a chance to beat the PNM.’.”
Rowley also cautioned party supporters that “the next election is ours to lose...The PNM is being advised how to vote. These elections are for PNM members and you and you alone will vote for the PNM.”
He also encouraged supporters to become registered party members within the next three weeks, in order to exercise their rights under the party’s new one man, one vote system. “You may say you’re a PNM because you’ve been voting PNM but you’re required now to register as a member...to vote for the PNM leadership.”
Rowley then declared, “If I have done nothing for this party, I’m giving you that choice; putting back the power in your hands, so that never again could any incumbent dictate to you what happens to and for your party. (Now) you will always have that responsibility.” Looking to the future development of TT, Rowley and party chairman, Franklin Khan, shared details about the new PNM policy document “Vision 2030”.
Rowley said the education section of the policy document would see investment in primary school education “in a way that we have not done for a long, long time (to) break the cycle of wrongdoing in this country” by inculcating a sense of responsibility into younger generations. The document is expected to be presented to the PNM’s General Council in the coming months, ahead of presentation for ratification at a national convention either later this year or early next year. A previous document, Vision 2020, was the brainchild of former PNM prime minister Patrick Manning which set out policies to take Trinidad and Tobago to development country status by 2020.