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Thursday, April 24, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Penny: I’m not leaving PNM
Pennelope Beckles-Robinson says she is not considering leaving the People’s National Movement (PNM) and remains a loyal member of the party. She made the statement while defending her decision to attend Government Whip Dr Roodal Moonilal’s international table-top beating and curry duck competition in Debe on Saturday night. Beckles-Robinson, the PNM lady vice-chairman, said her appearance at the event had nothing to do with politics.
On Saturday night, Beckles-Robinson stunned many when she turned up at Fun Splash Water Park, Debe, for the competition. She was greeted with loud cheers by the mainly United National Congress (UNC) crowd as she was welcomed by Moonilal. Beckles-Robinson, speaking with the T&T Guardian in a telephone interview, assured that her loyalty to the PNM remains firm and she had no intention of switching allegiance from the Opposition party.
She said: “Nobody has approached me, absolutely nobody from any political party has approached me at all and even if I were approached the point is I am a member of the PNM for the 23 years and I remain a very loyal member of the PNM. “I have had no approaches and quite frankly it is not up for consideration, leaving the PNM or joining any political party. That is not at all within my contemplation.” Moonilal, in a brief interview with the T&T Guardian, also assured that Beckles-Robinson was not being “poached” by the UNC.
He said: “She was guest and we were happy to have her and she brought greetings to the people of Oropouche East and it was a wonderful evening. “(Saturday night) centered on the quality of the curry duck and the wide and versatile skills of the table-beaters. We continue to enjoy a cordial relationship with her (Beckles-Robinson) after many years of parliamentary friendship.”
Invited by PNM supporter
Beckles-Robinson explained that on Friday she was invited to the event by Fun Slash owner, and known PNM supporter Vijay Ramai, and on Saturday while on her way to La Brea she decided to attend the competition. “I only stayed for half-an-hour,” she said.
Beckles-Robinson mingled with Moonilal, Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh, Gregory Bissessar, husband of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and Minister of Arts Lincoln Douglas during the event. She was seen sharing a hearty laugh with the ministers. She also delivered brief remarks at the event which was received with thunderous applause from the audience.
Beckles-Robinson said she was not surprised by her reception, since she believes that as a Trinidadian she can go anywhere in the country, even in an opposition party’s heartland and not face hostility.
No rift with Rowley
Last week, PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley surprised many when he axed Beckles-Robinson from the Senate. This prompted speculation that it was a deliberate move by Rowley after Beckles-Robinson signalled her intention to contest leadership of the party. Addressing this issue once again, Beckles-Robinson assured there was no “animosity” between herself and Rowley.
She said: “There is absolutely no question about my support. He is the political leader. He has my fullest support. “We still maintain a very good relationship and we had discussions on it (her removal from Senate) and I was fully aware of what he was going to do.” She said she did not see the problem with her contesting leadership in the PNM, since it was Rowley who initiated the one man-one vote system in the party and declared all positions were vacant.
“He is the one who has made it very clear in terms of these positions being vacant and as a leader that is what he has said and I think that all credit should go to him for that,” she said.
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