PM: I sought re-election because of pandemic, desire to mentor young politicians

Prime Minister Dr Rowley. File photo/Sureash Cholai
Prime Minister Dr Rowley. File photo/Sureash Cholai

THE Prime Minister has said the covid19 pandemic and a desire to mentor the party’s young politicians were the main reasons behind his decision to seek re-election as PNM political leader.

He was addressing a Leadership In Service campaign meeting on Thursday night at Caroline Building, Pumpmill, Scarborough, Tobago.

Dr Rowley, who is contesting the position of political leader unopposed in the upcoming party election, told supporters, “It was not my intention to continue beyond 2020.

"But what happened in 2019 into 2020, that pandemic, when we were fighting for our lives at the national level, at the international level, regardless of what I had planned, I could not walk away in 2020 and leave a whole group of people who I encouraged into the politics to stay and see the country through.”

He named MPs Shamfa Cudjoe, Ayanna Wesbter-Roy, Adrian Leonce, Kennedy Richards and Roger Monroe as examples.

“These were people that came in and were expected to be guided and to gain the experience of national leadership.”

Rowley drew chuckles from the audience when he said he made the decision without telling his wife Sharon.

“So when it was announced outside and I went home, I got the cold shoulder.”

He recalled she had asked him if he was running again for the leadership.

“It was a little too late for me to back away. I say yes. But that was the woman who I expected to tell me, 'Don’t do it.'”Rowley recalled when Patrick Manning first offered him a position in the Senate, he did not want to accept it.

“I expected her to tell me, ‘Don’t do it,’ but she said to me, ‘Well, if you think you could help him, go ahead.’

"And that is where I started out in the Parliament of TT."

He said he was especially proud of the brilliant group of young people in the PNM. Rowley added they were being supported by other experienced politicians like former labour minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus and Agriculture Minister Kazim Hosein, who are contesting the positions of labour relations officer and treasurer respectively.

Rowley expressed confidence in their capabilities.

“This is the seventh year that we have been in government under my leadership, and when I leave the country for one day, one month, the country is as stable as ever.”

In his address after the PNM’s victory in the August 19, 2020, general election, Rowley hinted that the election “could easily be my last term in politics.

“I’m not one of those politicians who believe that when you come into office you go out feet first,” he said then.

Saying he had “places to go and people to see,” Rowley added he also has a commitment to ensure the new term is a period of transition in the PNM.

“As the longest-serving member in the Parliament who will continue to serve another term, I have a duty and responsibility during this term to fashion the PNM’s future by ensuring our young people are developed in such a way that when I am no longer in a position to announce an election victory, that the country will not be deprived of the leadership that it deserves.”


"PM: I sought re-election because of pandemic, desire to mentor young politicians"

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