Baptiste-Primus: Karen's loss guaranteed

Former Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus. -
Former Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus. -

FORMER labour minister and labour relations officer in the PNM Jennifer Baptiste-Primus said former finance minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira will lose her fight for leadership of the party.

Nunez-Tesheira has said she will challenge the Prime Minister for the PNM leadership in the December 4 internal elections.

Dr Rowley has been PNM political leader since 2010 and defeated Pennelope Beckles in 2014. He was unopposed in the party's internal elections in 2018.

In a phone interview with Newsday on Tuesday, Baptiste-Primus said all challenges are welcome, as that is what democracy is, but Nunez-Tesheira will not be successful.

“She knows her cut---e is booked, but I wish her wel,” Baptiste-Primus said, adding that she believes the former finance minister will bring a certain level of excitement to the elections and motivate others to come out and vote.

Baptiste-Primus' assertion that Nunez-Tesheira will not be successful is shared by political analyst Dr Bishnu Ragoonath.

Ragoonath said she will face an uphill battle as she plans to take on an incumbent leader who is also the prime minister. He added that as a political party, the PNM generally consolidates behind the leadership, whether they are right or wrong, and supports the leadership.

“She has demonstrated that she has a conscience. She is not the conscience of the party. She understands the trauma of the party and the public discontent with the party.”

One party insider, who wished to remain anonymous, said Nunez-Tesheira’s bid for leadership is laughable.

“No one is taking her seriously. She’s a nonentity who spent the last 12 years of her life saying the worst things about the PNM and by extension, the membership. Now she wants to use the party to fulfil her power fetish? The PNM is a democratic party and all members are free to participate as they see fit. But we will not be mocked.”

While finance minister, Nunez-Tesheira was accused of using her position to break her fixed deposit at Clico, a subsidiary of CL Financial, weeks before the company collapsed and came to the government seeking a bailout in 2008.

She has repeatedly defended the decision, saying it was a mere coincidence, as she had reservations about Clico dating back to 2004. She told a commission of enquiry in 2009 that she told her sister of her intention to break her deposit and her sister also withdrew her investment in Clico.

On Sunday, Nunez-Tesheira said there was nothing anyone could bring forward that she could nott defend regarding her personal decision to sever ties with Clico. She said in the past 12 years no one had anything they could throw at her, or it would have been done already.

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