Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says his slate of candidates for Sunday’s People’s National Movement (PNM) internal election is the best team to lead the party through the next three major elections in TT.
“But it is not just about elections but the future of Trinidad and Tobago,” he told supporters on Tuesday during a political meeting at the Sangre Grande Civic Centre.
Rowley, who is contesting the post of political leader unopposed, noted apart from Sunday’s poll, the country was also preparing for a local government election, constitutionally due next year, a general election in 2020 and the Tobago House of Assembly election in 2021.
He said his slate was tried, tested and up to the task.
“The real deal is that we want people who are committed to the organisation through thick and thin.”
In this regard, he chastised former government minister Mustapha Abdul-Hamid and attorney Ronald Boynes for their lack of allegiance to the PNM over the years.
Abdul-Hamid and Boynes are contesting, independently, the posts of chairman and vice-chairman, respectively.
“You don’t want people like Ronald Boynes, who one day he is in the PNM, one day he is in the UNC....we want people who are real and with the party through thick and thin ... people who are real supporters of this great organisation.”
Of Abdul-Hamid, Rowley declared: “We would be crazy to take a man who has a career of being hateful... who never held office of any consequence in the party and make him chairman of the party.”
Rowley said Abdul-Hamid also has not played any role in the PNM since it came out of office in 2010.
The PM said any political party in which the leader does not have a synergy with its chairman was doomed to fail.
Reflecting on the contributions of past chairmen, the late Francis Prevatt and Drs Linda Baboolal and Lenny Saith, Rowley said he also worked closely with outgoing chairman Franklin Khan, continuing in the tradition of the PNM.
“Don’t take that for granted. That is the glue that holds our organisation together.”
He said the members of his slate can stand up to scrutiny.
“Every single one of them can come to this podium and impress as to why they are fit to hold office on the national executive.”
Rowley said his slate also gelled well together.
“To be successful you have to have team work at the level of the party. Without team work you gone. And if you look at the parties who have failed, it is because they did not have the kind of team work that we have demonstrated since1956 (launch of the PNM).”
He urged the audience to support his candidates.
“I am asking you to support me in identifying them because I know them and I know the party more than you. I have been in the party since 1974.
“I served two terms in the Opposition. I have served many terms in the Cabinet and I have run this party as leader since 2010.
“Now, if you look at what is available, give me a little credit for being able to identify those who are best suited.”