A qualified apology by Minister of State in the Ministry of the People, Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, over comments she made about People’s National Movement (PNM) leader Dr Keith Rowley has failed to q
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Rowley winning in PNM poll—Al-Rawi
PNM PRO Faris Al-Rawi says the Rowley faction in PNM’s internal election is doing polls almost daily and shows incumbent leader Keith Rowley “head and shoulders above everyone heading to victory.” Al-Rawi spoke to reporters yesterday outside the Senate on two polls done by Solution by Simulation which showed PNM leadership contestant Pennelope Beckles-Robinson had, among other things, the edge over Rowley in a national scenario, particularly attracting ILP supporters and people seeking another party.
Al-Rawi responded: “We in the Rowley faction camp in the internal election received a copy of the (SBS) poll commissioned, we understand, by Mr Danny Montano on behalf of a coalition of persons.” Al-Rawi said the poll was a “very nice piece of politicking and sleight of hand, since it does not deal with the question before the PNM electorate as to who is the preferred leader in the election race. It was done on the national election scenario. “It’s not an independent poll, the use of SBS only gives the appearance of an independent poll.”
He said the polls tried to “jump over” the PNM election process, adding: “Most important in it is a spectacular item that makes me believe it’s not a solid poll. “It says the PNM without Dr Rowley is strong and that cannot be the case when you look at the PNM having had four successful election runs, with three victories. So I cannot accept that poll as meritorious.” Al-Rawi also said the poll had material errors in it. He said the Rowley camp was doing polls almost daily which showed a Rowley victory in the internal election.
He said Rowley would unveil PNM’s general election strategy after the internal election “and this will show a 60 per cent victory margin for PNM.” Yesterday Montano (Senate President under the past PNM administration) said he did not commission the SBS poll but was part of a small group which did. He said the group had come together last year and decided to “do something for party and country.
“We had been looking at T&T for a while and what the alternatives are and what should be done and the group considered a poll,” he added. Montano said the group had no leader but comprised people who were very concerned about T&T. He said: “I’m firm in my mind Penny is the one who will unite the party and T&T and can lead us out of the mess we are in.
“It’s never been this bad. I have never been involved in grassroots politics and I am not now, neither have I ever been an activist but I felt I could not stand idly by and do nothing.” Montano declined comment on Rowley’s leadership, adding: “Rather, I have more positives to say on Ms Beckles-Robinson. I feel she can lead us forward and I will do what I can to support her.” The PNM’s internal election featured in “picong” before and during yesterday’s Senate debate.
As Al-Rawi took his seat, he was greeted with comments from PP members, to which he retorted: “Dr Keith Rowley, victor and leader... victorious.” While PNM Senator Lester Henry spoke on legislation, he told the Finance Minister: “A penny for your thoughts, minister.” Attorney General Anand Ramlogan replied: “Penny in your thoughts.” Other PP members told PNM members: “Penny will take them to the cleaners.”