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Age not a factor for youth officer—Hinds
Candidate for the post of PNM youth officer Fitzgerald Hinds has shot back at Pennelope Beckles-Robinson, saying she misunderstands the role. Beckles-Robinson, who is contesting the post of leader of the PNM, criticised Hinds for agreeing to run for youth officer, saying he was too old. Hinds was chosen for the position by incumbent party leader Dr Keith Rowley. Responding to Beckles-Robinson, Hinds said: “I think that comment betrays the lack of understanding of the youth officer. “You don’t have to be a member of the Youth League to be a youth officer. It is a role where you have to guide and mentor the young people of the country. I don’t have to run out on the field. I have to guide and allow the youths to benefit from my experience.”
He said youths needed to understand that their greatest asset was their potential and in doing so needed psychological guidance from experienced people. Saying he proposed to inspire and encourage talent from the various officers of the party, Hinds added: “In that regard, Mrs Beckles-Robinson could join the youth league with her young self and she might learn a thing or two about prospects for future leadership but not at this time.” Public relations officer Senator Faris Al-Rawi also defended Hinds, saying there was no age limit for the position and that Hinds, who was very energetic and knowledgeable, was in his 50s. “Most people believe that being a youth officer has to do with being a young person, but on the contrary, according to the rules it is a position of mentoring, of nurturing... one has to stand as mentor to the youths,” Al-Rawi said.
Saying he considered Hinds the best candidate for the job, Al-Rawi added: “He is also an inspiration and the father of three successful children.” Calling Beckles-Robinson’s comments “nonsensical and folly,” Al-Rawi said if that was her understanding of a youth officer then she misunderstood the criteria. “If that is the point she is attempting to make and we accept that argument and technique, then why put teachers in schools? “Should the youths be in charge then of teaching?” Al-Rawi asked. He said in the PNM elders were respected and looked upon as leaders.