Whatever happens in Karen Nunez-Tesheira's court matter on Wednesday over the People's National Movement's internal election, the party is destined for another 100 years of being great, and the UNC needs to get ready to pay costs on its court matter against Government, says Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi.
Al Rawi aimed these messages to PNM leadership candidate Nunez-Tesheira and UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar when he spoke at Tuesday night’s Leaders in Service (LIS) meeting in Point Fortin.
This was ahead of Nunez-Tesheira’s case seeking to delay the party’s internal elections. It was also after Persad-Bissessar said on Monday the UNC's filed further court action to expedite its recent court matter against the postponement of Local Government elections.
The LIS is seeking to win the executive elections in this weekend's voting and also on December 4, but is awaiting the outcome of Nunez-Tesheira's case. The LIS planned campaign meetings over Wednesday in Tacarigua, on Thursday in PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley's Diego Martin and a rally on Friday in general secretary Foster Cummings' La Horquetta constituency.
On Tuesday night, Al-Rawi, the PRO unopposed, noted, ”(Wednesday) the court will rule in relation to the challenges brought in our internal processes. But I'm confident that whatever happens, the PNM, from 1954, is destined for another 100 years of great is the PNM!"
He noted, "We're days away from an internal election, 13 months away from a Local Government expiry of term and opening for LG election – maximum 16 months to the end of that – and 33 months away from a general election.”
On Nunez-Tesheira's claims about the election, Al-Rawi cited the Data Protection Act which says sensitive personal information is private.
"Mrs Nunez-Tesheira, dear lady, thank you for your service to country in the time you served. I didn't know a couple of years as Finance Minister entitled you to... such a record but democracy is alive and well," he said.
"But to Mrs Nunez-Tesheira: nobody in this room have anybody telephone number! It's why we're in Point Fortin - we come to meet the people!
"It’s called meeting the people, party groups, it's called canvassing! If you can't be bothered to go and walk the ground and meet the people, maybe you might want to rethink your path towards political leader.”
He added, “That requires sweat of the brow, flat shoes – hard work ... all that I’ll say to those trying to frustrate and delay, election tactics played out in the courtroom – you’re looking and feeling very un-PNM! Come and do the work! Walk the streets... meet the people!"
On the UNC, Al-Rawi said, “Look at what UNC has to say – ‘no Local Government election, let’s go to court, once, twice.' Why? Because (Prime Minister Keith) Rowley said LG election delivery is the most important thing?
"All I'd tell Mrs Persad-Bissessar: read Section 29, subsection 2A of the Interpretation Act and you go need to know the answer is right there.
"Good luck, Kamla, God bless you. This is a democracy, go to court. Get your costs ready because you’ll have to pay the people of T&T for wasting their time."
Gadsby-Dolly: "Vote we must - whenever"
Candidate for vice chairman Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said people were wondering what would occur if they can't vote this weekend.
All that'll happen if that comes to be: members will have to vote a different time. But vote we must."
She said on December 4, the PNM celebrates its 50th convention.
"So don't let your heart be troubled when you see the rumbling going. Understand that the day to vote will come and vote we must. Whenever that time comes, understand you have to be ready... it’s not an easy time for PNM and party but LIS is committed."
Candidate for treasurer, Kazim Hosein, said Rowley is the PNM's leader and will emerge victorious.
Point Fortin MP Kennedy Richards said Rowley might have a few people going up against him, "but I consider him unopposed."
Operations candidate Irene Hinds said whatever the results of Nunez-Tesheira's case, "Dr Rowley will still be leader, Foster, general secretary and I'll be operations officer and next year we'll call a next election. But (failure) won't happen."