People’s National Movement (PNM) chairman Franklin Khan yesterday said Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is wrong to claim that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley's absence from TT was connected to the release of two polls on the performance of Rowley and the PNM over the last two years. Indicating the PNM is studying the polls and will issue a statement on them soon, Khan said the polls do not reflect that the PNM has lost support.
Speaking with reporters after a function at Tower C of the Port-of-Spain International Waterfront Centre, Khan said, "Dr Rowley is out of the country for medical reasons. It is not a dereliction of duty.Why can't the Opposition understand that?" Khan continued, "He has gone for his annual medical check-up. It has nothing to do with a poll coming out or what issues face the country." He reminded reporters, "I suffered health challenges in my own right earlier this year. " Khan fell ill while on vacation in Thailand last December and subsequently underwent heart-related surgery when he returned to TT. Khan added, "Your health and your family comes before anything else." He said Rowley is just taking care of his health "in a precautionary manner" just as what his doctors advised him when he went to California last year for a checkup.
Describing polling and statistics as a very scientific event, Khan said, "A lot of the polls conducted in TT are not truly scientific polls." Asked if the PNM does its own polls, Khan replied, "The polling really comes under the Prime Minister." On whether the PNM has lost support since September 2015, Khan said the country is in an economic downturn and there will be "some level of disappointment" when "you do not have the goods and services to share with the population." He added, "To say that that party has lost popularity, at it's core level, I don't think so."
Khan described the marginally higher rating which Persad-Bissessar received compared to Rowley's as part of the five year cycle in the country's politics after a general election. He said, "Things are being planned in the way that we honour the five year cycle." Khan said he had no update on Public Administration and Commmunications Minister Maxie Cuffie, who was hospitalised at St Clair Medical Centre on Tuesday. He said Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh would provide details on Cuffie's actual condition.