NOT for the first time, the PNM Tobago Council has stressed the need for the party to be unified. The theme has been a recurring one recently as there have been rumours of dissatisfaction among the ranks. With general elections due next year and THA elections in 2021, there seems to be a concerted effort to smooth the cracks in time for battle.
Addressing Tuesday’s Tobago West Constituency conference at the Lowlands Multipurpose Facility, under the theme United to Retain and Retake, Chief Secretary and PNM Tobago Council political leader Kelvin Charles said not everyone sees things through the same lens.
He noted, however, unity can bring a shared outcome or objective.
“Therein lies the challenge, because we are composed of a party or an organisation with different personalities, with different opinions, different views, different theories, different ideas, and that creates a problem for what we call alignment of purpose, one of our biggest challenges. But how do we get to the point where there is a commonality of understanding?” he said.
Charles, the representative for Black Rock/Whim/Spring Garden, acknowledged achieving that goal is no simple feat.
"A magic wand cannot be waved and it be made happen. We have to develop to the point where we can comfortably treat with diverse ideas and find the right mechanism to allow us to moderate our differences."
He added: "I would want to suggest as well that one of the ingredients that we are probably not paying sufficient attention to as we talk unity is the whole issue or question of empathy…and one of the challenges we do have with organisations is the whole question of how we empathise with each other. The flip side of that has to deal with admissions of our own interests."
The sentiments were echoed by Tobago West MP Shamfa Cudjoe, who said unity is not just uniting Tobago East and West.
“If we’re talking, everybody has to be on board, everybody has to feel relevant. All divides that can possibly take place – from the Orville Londonites to the Kelvinites, because some people ent come over yet," she said.
"We are all PNMites, we have to face this battle as PNM people. That divide has closed, we have to face the public as PNMites, across each and every divide. We have to lock arms and close ranks and fight them as one.
“So when we talk about unite to fight and regain, I’m not talking petty; east, west, Central Government. I’m talking about the issues that exist right here, right now that we need to deal with right now. Because time is not on our side, we’re living in real, real difficult times. The issues are real."