THE track record of the PNM including support for disabled student/attorney Veera Bhajan and construction of the Hanuman statue proves it is not biased against Hindus, the party’s former general secretary Ashton Ford says.
In a statement sent to rebuff recent allegations by TV6 morning talk show host Fazeer Mohammed, Ford said, “Ms Bhajan’s achievement is one of many by young citizens who benefited from State scholarships under the auspices of the People’s National Movement (PNM).
“She was not granted a scholarship because she was a member of the PNM, nor was she able to pursue her goals as a result of her physical condition. The government also recognised her outstanding achievements and she was awarded the Humming Bird Silver Medal in 2005.”
Ford accused Mohammed of a vicious attack on the PNM and former minister Joan Yuille Williams who was accused of a secret scholarship programme for PNM members and supporters. Ford said, “Conveniently for him and his argument, he omitted to mention that Ms Yuille Williams was cleared by both the Integrity Commission and the Police, following long, drawn-out investigations.”
Ford accused Mohammed of omitting to say Caroni (1975) Limited was rescued by the PNM. “Of course, he did not mention the construction the Dattatreya Mandir in Carapichima which was opened on June 9, 2003, when the 80-foot-tall Hanuman statue was consecrated and inaugurated, as well as a small shrine near the statue.
Ford accused Mohammed of memory loss by omitting to say he was fired from state-owned CNMG soon after the United National Congress (UNC) formed the government in 2010. “At least, we remember the disgust we felt on his behalf, when he was rail-roaded on air by a UNC minister, accused of having an Islamic, anti-female bias,” Ford said.
Ford said it was under the PNM that the Temple in Sea was rebuilt in 1995, receiving assistance from the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) headed by then MP Jarrette Narine.