PNM Tobago Council chairman Stanford Callendar has said he "ain’t going nowhere,” as he addressed party supporters on Tuesday following rumours that he had resigned his post.
Callendar, a former Tobago West MP and ex-Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister (Tobago Affairs) said: “I will lead this party until I decide to hand over the reins or let someone else move into the reins for the purpose of transition. So, I ain’t going nowhere.”
The rumour of Callendar's exit began circulating on social media following the Prime Minister's attendance of a special council meeting at its headquarters in Scarborough last Monday. It was rumoured that Dr Rowley reprimanded the team ahead of internal elections in 2020.
Callendar said he has been inundated with calls asking if his resignation was true. He, however, rubbished the rumours and said the party is governed solely by its constitution.
He said the PNM Tobago Council began its operations in 1998 and part of its constitution outlines that “the Tobago Council shall be the governing unit of the party in Tobago and shall be responsible to the General Council.” He added that if anybody knows about the party’s constitution, it was Rowley, the political leader of the party.
“He more than anybody else knows that he can’t tell the Tobago Council how to manage the affairs of the party in Tobago. So I want to put it out there for those who believe (the rumours)... You see one of the things I said to the political leader..., because he messaged me to find out how I felt the meeting went, I said to him, 'You have set the right tone, you have said the right things, you choose your words very carefully but there were those who were very disappointed because they felt that your mission was something else.'
“We have already said that elections would be held when its due, and that’s in 2020, but it is the Tobago Council of the PNM that will make that decision and nobody else...The day that happens (someone external controls the council), it is the day I would resign as chairman of the party. But until such time, that would not happen because the discipline and structured organisation, which is the PNM, we understand what this thing is about and we understand what this party is about.
"So for the time being, the political leader of the PNM Tobago Council is Kelvin Charles... We had Orville London as Chief Secretary that this island rallied around, he has gone and we have now replaced him with Kelvin Charles, so this is Kelvin Charles' time to lead this little island of ours. This organisation has a leader and it is our responsibility to support or leader.”
Callendar acknowledged grumblings since he and Charles were elected but said everyone must abide by the constitution.
“There are some people who were never satisfied with the results of a free and fair election in 2016, so one month after they start to call for elections now... They could have elections, yes, but have it by themselves. Within this organisation, we are disciplined and things are done in a particular way. So, I want to tell all of us, in the interest of all of us and the future of this place and space, let us be disciplined and recognise who our leaders are. We have one responsibility, the party membership has one, and that is to support their leaders and pay for their party in this country, that is the only responsibility you have as a party member.”