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PNM leader’s actions worry new PNM caucus

Published: 
Thursday, December 5, 2013

To Preserve The Balisier (TPTB), a new PNM caucus group, has voiced strong concern about party leader Keith Rowley’s modus operandi and decisions, including appointing defeated candidate Avinash Singh a senator, and will be backing a challenger to Rowley in upcoming PNM leadership elections.

 

 

According to TPTB member Dr Bose Sharma, the PNM’s 2010 St Augustine candidate, the group involves mainly East-West Corridor PNMites who meet regularly with rank-and-file members and some General Council members, plus others from South and Tobago. He added: “It’s gaining momentum across PNM, since rank-and-file members identify, as they see changes in the party in directions (which are) not fully discussed.

 

“We will be putting up someone for PNM’s (leadership) elections and are in the process of  finalising this,” Sharma said, declining to say who. The name of the group alludes to the abandoning of the balisier tie by some PNM MPs, a change headed by Rowley, though Sharma said it really focused on the party’s philosophies symbolised by its balisier emblem. Asked if TPTB members included former leader Patrick Manning, he said Manning was out of the politics.

 

Sharma also said former PNM Senator Penny Beckles-Robinson was not with the group but was “always aware of many things in the PNM.” The group emerged recently when members began speaking out on the PNM’s position. Sharma said a movement was developing  and TPTB was waiting to see what else happens leading into the PNM’s leadership polls, which are expected by next April. He said a challenge mounted to the leadership “will only be a natural culmination of members’ concerns.

 

“Our efforts are in support of ensuring PNM is well structured to properly represent T&T before it offers itself to the rest of the country to do this. Sharma, who joined the party in 2006, said he had been involved with it since he was much younger. Explaining the group’s launch, he said: “The central focus is the perception that PNM is being taken down a non-PNM path and abdicating its responsibility to the party’s constitution concerning a lot of the decisions adjudicated upon by the leader. 

 

“Nobody’s against change but in this case, the concern is how change is implemented, particularly regarding discussions on the party floor and council, rather than changing willy-nilly, taking it for granted and raising negative reaction from the ‘ground. Sharma said many party responsibilities were being given to people now financing the PNM, though TPTB members felt policy should be handled by others. Sharma added: “The leader is only listening to a group around him, some say sycophants, who lack depth of political experience. 

 

“The rank-and-file is worried the leader is imposing his will and views on the party unnecessarily, with little consultation, using a decision-making process outside the council. This will blight full PNM resurgence and 2015 victory.” Sharma said TPTB members had tried to speak with Rowley but no appointment was had. “But we’re still trying,” he added.

 

PNM chairman Franklin Khan was asked about members’ concerns and perception about Rowley’s modus operandi and that he only listened to a group, including PNM deputy Rohan Sinanan, Harry Ragoonanan, south mayor Kazim Hosein and organiser Andrew Gabriel. Khan said: “No comment. We have a central executive meeting this evening  and any issues people have, they will raise it at that forum.” Beckles didn’t answer calls yesterday.

 

 

Removals stir  up PNM

The removal of PNM senators Pennelope Beckles-Robinson and Fitzgerald Hinds has stirred up some ripples in the PNM. The party’s central executive was expected to discuss the situation last night and the Women’s League, which Beckles-Robinson chairs, will also meet. Women’s League vice-chairman Marva Bostic said it was the leader’s prerogative to appoint or remove “but Mrs Beckles-Robinson’s post as Women’s League head is elected and nobody can interfere with that. I support her.”

 

Yesterday PNM executive officials said while Hinds “will be moving on to  other things” they were uncertain about Beckles-Robinson’s position. Hinds is said to be tipped to mobilise and recruit for the party and for the  Laventille West seat held by MP Nileung Hypolite, since Hypolite may be shifted to Laventille East to replace Donna Cox. 

 

 

Removals stir  up PNM

The removal of PNM senators Pennelope Beckles-Robinson and Fitzgerald Hinds has stirred up some ripples in the PNM. The party’s central executive was expected to discuss the situation last night and the Women’s League, which Beckles-Robinson chairs, will also meet. Women’s League vice-chairman Marva Bostic said it was the leader’s prerogative to appoint or remove “but Mrs Beckles-Robinson’s post as Women’s League head is elected and nobody can interfere with that. I support her.”

 

Yesterday PNM executive officials said while Hinds “will be moving on to  other things” they were uncertain about Beckles-Robinson’s position. Hinds is said to be tipped to mobilise and recruit for the party and for the  Laventille West seat held by MP Nileung Hypolite, since Hypolite may be shifted to Laventille East to replace Donna Cox. 

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