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Sunday 26 May 2019
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Rowley: Keep PNM united

Campaigning for internal election

File photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on the campaign for the PNM internal election.
File photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on the campaign for the PNM internal election.

THE Prime Minister urged party members to elect a united National Executive to lead the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) in the upcoming internal elections, spelling out the dangers of discord at a “Red and Rowley” meeting at La Horquetta on Thursday.

Dr Rowley said other parties had shied away from taking tough decisions in the country’s interest because they had known they were not personally supported by a strong party behind them. He said it was awful for a leader going into battle than turning around to see the team that was supposed to be behind him in support was absent.

Even worse, Rowley said, was for a leader to witness the first shot in the battle aimed at him, coming from behind him. Saying it would be awful for a PNM executive member to publicly oppose the party’s support for TT to adopt the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the highest court, Rowley said, “You need a oneness of leadership to carry the debate.”

He said if one shows “rectitude and commitment to the cause”, one will prevail. Rowley related that party disunity among constituency executives may well once have cost the party an unnamed past general election. He said the party’s Fyzabad constituency executive had been so divided that some nine members had each nominated themselves as candidate to be MP.

“No one would back down. They wouldn’t budge,” he related of his personal efforts as then deputy leader to resolve the squabble. Likewise, division at the Barataria/San Juan PNM meant they had to send back the constituency officials five times to try to agree on a candidate. The PNM lost that seat too.

Likewise for another seat, whose final nominee was only chosen one month before election day, Rowley lamented. Otherwise he said orders had been placed to buy new ferries for the sea-bridge which should be in TT within 18 months time.

Retorting to critics’ allegations that his Government had not done enough, Rowley said every country has problems of one sort or the other it is actively working to resolve.

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