I first met Derek Walcott, who died on March 20, in the late 1960s when we both worked as reporters at the Trinidad Guardian and the Trinidad Evening News in my native Trinidad.
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Ryan on party wranglings: It’s par for the course
While the acrimony coming out of the PNM has surprised many, at least two analysts are saying that this is just par for the course. Prof Dr Selwyn Ryan, in a telephone interview, said the current Dr Keith Rowley vs Penelope Beckles-Robinson battle “pales in comparison” to the 1996 fight between Rowley and then party leader Patrick Manning. However, Ryan said because of an imbedded philosophy within the PNM, he did not expect the fight to be too bitter. “All the internal party elections we have had has been acrimonious, the last one between Rowley and Manning was also fiercely contested,” Ryan said. Ryan said even the recent race allegations is “nothing new.” “The thing has been calm and even gentle compared to what happens in the UNC (United National Congress) and COP (Congress of the People) internal elections,” he said. He said the PNM would continue to have a “little rumbling” internally until the elections. “I am not concerned,” he said.
2015 a big year for politics
Politicians are also gearing up for the 2015 general election, which Ryan says will impact on the conduct of internal elections. He described 2015 as a “big year” for politics. “Everybody has to deal with their internal elections first, and I don’t expect that to be a church service. It will get noisy,” he said. With the UNC’s decision to put their own internal elections on the back burner until the party constitution is completed, Ryan said he saw that as a “tactical decision.” “It was a tactical move designed to take the pressure off,” he said, adding that he did not believe that was done to let the PNM elections take its course.
Ragoonath: East Indians in PNM were unsure during changeover
Fellow political analyst Bishnu Ragoonath, meanwhile, agreed with Ryan’s analysis and predictions. “Both parties are preparing for general election and have to deal with the internal issues first,” he said. “They need to deal with those issues, elections as early as possible,” Ragoonath said. He said the PNM never had an election under the new one-man one-vote and was interested in seeing how it worked. With regards to the recent reports of a race issue in the PNM, Ragoonath said during the changeover from the Manning administration to the Rowley administration, East Indians within the PNM were unsure of what the new management would mean for them. “I think several took a backseat to look on and see how things were unfolding, they did not leave the PNM, but they were not at the fore,” he said. He said it was now up to those supporters to decide what role they would play in the election.