Incumbent Diego Martin West MP Dr Keith Rowley last night called on the supporters of the ruling People's National Movement (PNM) to ensure that they come out to vote in the May 24 general election or the party may lose the election.
Speaking before a crowd in Diamond Vale in his constituency, Rowley said: "This is a very serious excerise. My first concern is that the PNM might lose. My other concern is that the next side might win." He said people were saying that the atmosphere now was like 1986 general election. Then, the NAR won 33 seats and the PNM three. But he told PNM faithful not to make the mistake and vote for the People's Partnership who, he said, would not be able to govern the country. A very serious Rowley mounted a PNM platform in Diego Martin last night, finally sharing the stage with his political leader and Prime Minister, Patrick Manning. It was the first time for the 2010 general election that Rowley spoke on a platform with Manning. Last night, PNM supporters from all over the country descended on Diamond Vale, causing a traffic jam around the Wendy Fitzwilliam Boulevard. Many were waiting to see if, firstly, Rowley would appear, and secondly, if he would speak. He got a rousing reception when he arrived at 7.32 pm. Minutes later, Manning arrived and shook the hands of the frontline speakers, including Rowley. For the entire night, Rowley sat at the head table and offered no smile. He spoke briefly with�Dr Amery Browne, the PNM Diego Martin Central candidate.
Minister of Local Government Hazel Manning sat between Rowley and her husband. Manning remained stonefaced while Rowley was speaking, but the people on the stage were glued to the Diego Martin West candidate. Rowley, who had attacked the Government for the way it handled allegations against the Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott), mentioned Udecott once in his 22-minute speech. He also mentioned the corruption at Piarco Airport, just once. In his turn at the podium, Rowley stunned the crowd when he raised two concerns. He said the May 24 election was a very serious exercise. His first concern was the possibility that the PNM could lose next Monday, and secondly, that the next side might win. Rowley said that the PNM�was not perfect. Saying he had issues with the leadership of the party, Rowley launched an attack on the People's Partnership coalition. He stuck to the issue of competence, saying there may well be people who are more competent than the 41 candidates which the PNM put up in the elections. He said these people did not come forward. But he made it quite clear that the candidates on the opposing side were not competent to run T&T. �Rowley said next Monday's election was really about voting to protect the people's interest in housing, health, among other things. He said the PNM was about PNM values and policies and not about personalities.
Meanwhile, speaking after Rowley, Prime Minister Patrick Manning announced that he received notification this week from the state's lawyers in the US that T&T is about to receive a patent for the G-Pan. "This means that nobody could produce the G-Pan, both here or abroad, without the Government receiving royalties," the Prime Minister said. He also spoke about the development of a new industry out of the manufacturing of pans for a global market.