Walcott refused spot on election slate

PNM independent candidate Leslie Walcott  -
PNM independent candidate Leslie Walcott -

Businessman Leslie Walcott, who is contesting the position of operations officer in the People's National Movement's (PNM's) Tobago Council internal election on Sunday, believes he can create structures to promote greater inclusion within the party.

The independent candidate claimed many members and supporters have reported feeling disconnected from the PNM on the island.

"In terms of the operational aspects of the party, there are many areas we can tighten up on and I believe that as a candidate going in that I can do those things in terms of inclusiveness in the party – having persons feel as though they are part of the mechanism of the party," he told Newsday Tobago.

"Sometimes, people at the lowest arm of the party do not get the opportunity to feel as though they are part of that mechanism and that is what I want to engender.

"I want to be able to bring persons on board and have them know and feel as though they are an integral part of this thing."

A member of the PNM since 1999, Walcott believes as a longstanding member of the party, he is well-positioned to bring about change.

He has served as PRO for the Tobago East constituency and has represented the island on the party's national general council.

"I have worked extensively in the party, especially in the operational aspects, doing what is needed for successful elections."

Walcott is being challenged by Delmond Edwards and Ancil Thorne, who are supporting TT Ambassador to Costa Rica Tracy Davidson-Celestine and incumbent Kelvin Charles, respectively, for the post of political leader.

Asked how he felt about his chances Walcott said: "I think my chances are excellent. Firstly, after God, He leads out in anything that I do and his will be done in my life."

The candidate said, if elected, he would establish a sub-committee with a mandate to increase membership.

Walcott said as a PNM member, he has always maintained the party can do more to promote greater unity.

"To whom much is given, much is required and there is a lot more that we can do to unify our party. It is only in unified strength that we can go in to face any other election – general, THA. So, my first objective is to work towards building our party."

Walcott said he decided against joining a slate for the election.

"I was offered positions on slates and I turned them down because I felt that slates gave a somewhat divisive tone in the party. I am for inclusiveness, therefore I want everyone to understand that I am willing to work with anyone who is there.

"I don't want anyone to get the tone from me that I am selecting one group of persons over another."

A total of 45 candidates are contesting some 17 executive positions in the election

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