COUVA North MP Ramona Ramdial has rubbished Prime Minister Dr Rowley’s plea to central Trinidad to give his party, the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM), a chance in upcoming local and general elections.
Ramdial, in a press release yesterday, expressed her anger and disbelief at the prime minister’s statements at the opening of the PNM’s central regional office in the Chaguanas East constituency on Saturday, where he asked people in central Trinidad to give the PNM a chance in the local government election set for later this year and in general elections, due next year.
At the opening of the office, Rowley put the Opposition United National Congress (UNC), which has been able to hold on to power in Chaguanas East over the past two general elections, on notice that, “every single seat in TT is targeted by the PNM.”
Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Minister Clarence Rambharat, a Government Senator, has been selected by the PNM to contest the Chaguanas East seat in the next general election. In the 2015 general election, Rambharat contested the Mayaro seat and was beaten by the UNC’s Rushton Paray.
Fazal Karim, who was Tertiary Education and Skills Training Minister during the People’s Partnership administration, is the incumbent Chaguanas East MP.
In confirming that Rambharat was the party’s choice for Chaguanas East, Rowley on Saturday said, “we are equally eager in Couva South, Couva North, Caroni Central, Caroni East and all constituencies in central TT. There will be a formidable PNM standard-bearer.”
He called on eligible voters to give his party a chance, making an appeal: “You have tried the rest, now try the best – the PNM.” But Ramdial was clearly unimpressed. “The people of Central have seen him and his party for who and what they really are and will not be giving the PNM a chance in Central,” she declared in the press release.
“How can Central Trinidad give Prime Minister Keith Rowley and the PNM a chance when only a couple of weeks ago he and his government showed a lack of care and compassion when they failed to visit the families of the seven dead fishermen of Orange Valley?
“To further add insult to injury we had a junior acting Minister of National Security, Minister (Fitzgerald) Hinds saying twice on national television that they (the government) would visit only if a silent request was made from the families. This was an all-time low for the PNM-led government during one of T&T’s darkest weeks,” Ramdial said.
She noted, “the prime minister and his uncaring ministers came to central to open an office, a barrage of ministers visited former minister (Marlene) McDonald when she was charged for corruption, bringing food and words and comfort last week, but up to this day there have been no visits from the prime minister, ministers or government officials to the people of Orange Valley.”
“I want the people of Trinidad and Tobago to wake up and not be fooled by the prime minister’s hypocritical and uncaring statements. He has clearly shown through words and actions that he is not a Prime Minister for all the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” Ramdial concluded.
On Saturday, Rowley said Central has some of the “staunchest PNM supporters” but because of their location, it is difficult to openly show this support. He said the opening of the office was not by accident but by design, “based on our fundamental principal that we are a national party for all the people of TT, cutting across race, colour, creed, class or location.”
The last PNM member to win the Chaguanas East seat was Mustapha Abdul-Hamid who won in 2007, but lost it in the 2010 snap general election called by then prime minister Patrick Manning, who died in 2016.