Last update: 06-Dec-2013 4:49 am
Friday, December 06, 2013
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Rowley: PNM dropped candidate with criminal record
Leader of the People’s National Movement (PNM) Dr Keith Rowley says his party was forced to reject one of its selected candidates for the October 21 local government elections because they found out he had a criminal record. Rowley spoke about the development during a meeting in St James on Saturday, saying Independent Liberal Party (ILP) chairman Jack Warner should take similar action after one of his candidates, Kerwin Bucchan, was charged for serious gun-related offences recently. Warner has publicly supported Bucchan since he appeared in court, saying he remains innocent until proven guilty by the court.
But in showing the difference in leadership of the parties on Saturday, Rowley said the unnamed PNM candidate was initially chosen and approved by the PNM’s central executive. However, he said one member of the screening committee had an uneasy feeling about the candidate, who was selected to contest an electoral district south of the East-West Corridor. According to Rowley, the unidentified committee member subsequently had a chat with the candidate, who “opened up in a way that he had not to the screening committee.” Rowley said the PNM subsequently found out that the candidate was a deportee with a criminal record for a very serious offence. The man, he said, had served his time, but the party felt he was “not the best person to advance for an election in Trinidad. So the PNM withdrew and replaced him.” Rowley said in “this gun town,” Warner “wants us to accept that a man who is charged with an offence like that should be put up to represent people in T&T.” Rowley said the electorate should “reject that kind of offering.”
On another note, Rowley said Port-of-Spain was being downgraded by the People’s Partnership Government led by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. This, he said, would have “serious economic consequences” on the country. He said the deliberate downgrade was happening in the face of the crime wave in east Port-of-Spain and the need for meaningful job creation, while the PM was only engaging in public relations. Rowley, a former housing minister, said the Government had approved a $61 billion budget for 2014 and did not allocate any money to continue the housing programme in Port-of-Spain. The Diego Martin West MP also said the United National Congress, the major party in the PP coalition, did not put up any candidates for the Port-of-Spain City and Diego Martin regional corporations in the upcoming elections.
According to Rowley, the UNC was “afraid and ashamed” to present candidates for those two corporations. Rowley also again called on Warner, a former works and transport minister, to tell citizens what was discussed in a South African hotel with officials of OAS Construtora two weeks after he was appointed minister. OAS Construtora was chosen to build the $7 billion Solomon Hochoy Highway extension from San Fernando to Point Fortin.
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