Rowley: Sandy ‘dealt with’
Saturday, January 12 2013
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PEOPLE’s National Movement (PNM) political leader Dr Keith Rowley yesterday said he found “nothing unusual” about a meeting yesterday in Tobago between the party’s deputy leader (Tobago) Orville London, PNM deputy leader Joan Yuille-Williams and former deputy leader Nafeesa Mohammed with PNM Belle Garden East/Roxborough/Delaford candidate Hilton Sandy.
Sandy, who is also Deputy Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary, has been in the spotlight for controversial remarks he made at a PNM public meeting about “a ship at Calcutta waiting to sail to Tobago.”
Saying it was normal for top party officials like London, Yuille-Williams and Mohammed to interface with the party’s candidates during an election campaign, Rowley said he was not going to be drawn into speculation as to what their meeting with Sandy was about. Rowley, who is also Opposition Leader, maintained that as far as the PNM is concerned the issue of Sandy’s comments is water under the bridge. “That’s been dealt with,” Rowley stated.
He said this was not the first time in the country’s political history that a political leader of any party reprimanded a candidate for his or her conduct and that individual retracted the offending statement and apologised for it. Noting that Sandy has done so and has been reprimanded by the PNM for his actions, Rowley said the party is not going to join the bandwagon of those persons who are “absolutely overjoyed” about the remarks which Sandy made.
He reiterated that Sandy’s candidacy is not going to be withdrawn and this cannot be done after Nomination Day which was December 31, 2012. Under the Representation of the People’s Act, there is allowance up to January 14 for a candidate to withdraw but should that happen, a replacement cannot be put in that individual’s place.
Noting the plethora of political advertisements in the print and electronic media which continue to be bandied about by the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) which have Sandy’s remarks at their core, Rowley declared: “We of the PNM are not of that.” He said the public should take note that the PNM’s advertisements focus on the issues of relevance to the THA election on January 21.
PNM General Secretary Ashton Ford yesterday told Newsday the party takes “strong objection” to TOP advertisements which try to mislead the public into thinking there is a connection between Sandy’s remarks and remarks which Rowley made as a PNM candidate in the 2010 general election campaign about being “a PNM sailor on a PNM ship.”
“We think it is obscene and we ask them (TOP) to desist,” Ford said. Political activities intensify this weekend with the PNM, TOP and the Platform for Truth holding meetings across the island.