The PNM's Arima constituency has made peace and MP Pennelope Beckles and her replacement, Laurel Lezama Lee Sing, will work together, according to constituency executive secretary Bobby Charles yesterday.
Charles spoke after the executive met with Lee Sing on Tuesday. Beckles and Lee Sing had a subsequent meeting, he said. The consolidation arose after PNM deputy leader Joan Yuille-Williams met with the Arima executive on Tuesday to try and pacify members who had concerns about Beckles' replacement. Yesterday, Charles said: "The new candidate had a successful meeting with the executive on Tuesday and she was due to meet Beckles on Wednesday. "Beckles was not at our meeting on Tuesday since she had another appointment. But we have turned a page on this issue." Charles also said the executive had "turned the page" regarding its claim that PNM leader Prime Minister Patrick Manning had announced Lee Sing as the prospective candidate before the decision was completely ratified.
On that issue, Charles added: "The general secretary sent us a written apology and we have accepted that. So Arima will remain PNM." Charles reiterated that Beckles would not accept advances which were made recently by the COP for her to contest Arima on that ticket. He added: "That's a no-no. When Rupert Griffith crossed the floor to the UNC Government I was also asked to come across. "I didn't do it and Mrs Beckles would never let down her standards either. I can vouch for that. We have our ups and downs in PNM but we fight the cause together." Meanwhile, in another PNM area–St Ann's East–which had had problems Roslyn Thomas, secretary of that executive, said outgoing MP Anthony Roberts handed over the reins to new candidate Joanne Thomas on Tuesday.
The executive had protested replacing Roberts with Thomas. However Thomas said the executive had accepted the decision and was mobilising the constituency to support the new candidate. She added: "At our meeting on Tuesday MP Roberts presented the new candidate to the executive and he thanked us and area councillors for the support. "He didn't say if he would be actively on the campaign with us, but he remains open for consultation. We always get his co-operation when we call for it. I'm sure the situation will continue. "Currently he's relaxing and enjoying a quiet time. We'll miss him but that's life. You have to move on at some time." Thomas added: "We haven't discussed whether he will take her around the area but I don't think he will say no. "It may have been upsetting the way he was treated but the new candidate was not responsible for what happened. We're in contact with him and if necessary will call on his support ."
Thomas did not think the party would lose the seat. But she admitted some votes may be lost due to the issue of Roberts' removal. She added: " I don't think those persons would vote UNC. They may simply not vote. But when we move around we'll know the extent of the situation."