Political analyst Derek Ramsamooj says Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley may be lacking the skills to transform the PNM into a viable political entity."The challenge is not so much whether Dr Rowley can hold the PNM together, it's whether Dr Rowley will be allowed to transform the PNM to be a viable political institution that can form government above and beyond its historical electoral support base," he said.Ramsamooj said the skills required to broaden the PNM's base as well as to keep the party cohesive in institutional transformation "seems to be somewhat daunting" to Rowley.
He said there appeared to be fractures within the PNM and members of the party seemed to be upset with Rowley's decision-making process at the parliamentary caucus level and on the ground.Ramsamooj said the Congress of the People (COP) may well be focusing on PNM constituencies. He said the Government was faced with one of two options by the time the next election comes around..."either running as one monolithic, unitary political institution called the People's Partnership, or the partners could go back to their respective political entities and contest as individual parties."
He said within that framework, "one would expect that the COP's ambition would be to widen its electoral support base and its winnability in constituencies along the East-West Corridor."The PP, if it has to demonstrate growth, must have the capability to expand its winnable constituencies," Ramsamooj said."Constituencies such as Point Fortin, as well as constituencies in the Diego Martin areas, will indeed be prone to a PP partnership political attack against the PNM."He said the the PNM under Rowley must be able to keep its support base and attract new members.
According to Ramsamooj, Rowley was attempting to widen the appeal of the opposition party by having people of different ethnic backgrounds in its hierarchy."Whether that transfers to support in the ground is still left to be seen," he said.Ramsamooj said political institutions had historically drawn support along certain ethnic lines. "At the top of the institutions, there appears a need for a balance," he said."What is clearly evident now is that political institutions in the country need to develop a different approach as to how they are structured and how they builds their parties from the bottom."