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Steelpan and tassa at Convention Centre as... PNM celebrates ‘renewal’
PNM political leader Dr Keith Rowley was heralded onstage at the party’s annual convention yesterday to pounding tassa drums and loud cheers from delegates who rose to their feet as he entered the centre.
Former PNM leader and prime minister, Patrick Manning, who was ousted when the People’s Partnership took the Government in May last year, was noticeably absent. An air of excitement, hope and even celebration prevailed at the party’s 43rd convention at the Chaguaramas Convention Centre as steelpan and tassa drowned out all else before the start of the morning session. Delegates in red PNM T-shirts seemed high-spirited. Quotations and photos of Dr Eric Williams, the PNM and T&T’s first prime minister, adorned walls everywhere as they celebrated the 100th anniversary of his death.
The celebratory mood was heightened when the band H2O Phlo, shortly after the session began, struck up the lively, Celebration, by Kool & the Gang and Lionel Richie’s, All Night Long. Rowley and other PNM officials onstage, stood up and danced and clapped with delegates in the auditorium. Attendants commented that it was something they had never seen in previous PNM conventions. Donna Cox, addressing delegates, gave what may be the reason behind the PNM’s high spirits—a renewal of the spirit that led to the formation of the party in 1956.
“In reflecting upon this past political year, resurgence and renewal are two words which are fittingly appropriate for the PNM’s mandate in moving successfully forward in T&T,” she began. “Now is the time for us as a party to resurge and renew ourselves. This is the time where we establish our lasting and eternal PNM spirit, as we reaffirm our commitment to this great party,” Cox said, to loud cheers from the audience. “It is my hope that our convention today will remind us of who we are, where our political purpose lies and how we should move forward under the banner of resurgence and renewal.”
Evoking memories of the beginnings of the party, she said: “It was in 1955 that a group of people with a dream in their heads and a passion in their hearts came together to discuss the history of T&T and to craft a way towards the future. “The early meetings of the PNM must have been characterised by both excitement and concern, for the state of the country at the time and the possibilities that lay beyond the horizon,” Cox said. She said that 1955 coming together would have been characterised by, among other things, a determination not to give up, to battle, to endure, to succeed. “It represented a stepping up from where we were, an unwillingness to stay where we were,” she said.
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