British High Commissioner Tim Stew
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Penny: PNM not ready for one man vote
The PNM is not ready for the one-man-one-vote system of voting. That was the view of Pennelope Beckles-Robinson, who challenged Dr Keith Rowley for the post of political leader during yesterday’s national executive elections. She also sought to concede as she indicated that while she remained confident “if it is God’s will and I don’t win, I think I have done my best. I had an excellent team and I am satisfied that we have done our best.”
Thanking her supporters, Beckles-Robinson said, “We just have to recognise that we have to do better the next time and of course the next time should be me leading the PNM.” Beckles arrived shortly after 11 am to cast her ballot at the Arima Central Secondary School. She was accompanied by her husband, Noel Robinson. He is a party group vice chairman but his name was not on the list of electors.
The voting process was slow as Beckles-Robinson said she took some 45 minutes to complete the exercise. There were some 15 positions to be filled on the executive. She complained about the frustration and distress of members who lived in distant communities such as La Fillette, Blanchisseuse and Valencia who would have wanted to vote but were unable to do so. She said it was ridiculous and outrageous that there was only one poling station for the large Arima constituency.
She said while it might not have been deliberate, the party must take blame for the late availability and inaccuracies of the voters list. “As far as I am concerned the party simply was not ready for a one-man-one-vote.” she insisted. That is not good for the party. I think it is a whole question of repercussions for the party later on because this is a process the whole country is looking at,” she said.
According to Beckles-Robinson, the PNM’s base support was not sufficient to win the 2015 general election. She said denying your own members the right to vote will adversely affect the party in the future. “They are the same people you have to go back and beg to vote for you because your base is clearly not enough for you to win,” Beckles-Robinson added. She also said the PNM must seek to woo members of the COP and other parties for the next general election.
She said she had no intention of leaving the PNM and continues to aspire to lead the party. Her team called Team Penny was the major challenger to the incumbent team led by Rowley. It was the first elections conducted under the system of one-man-one-vote in the party’s 58 year history.