Letters are expected to be issued this week to PNM constituencies officially instructing them to open nominations for general elections— and the party’s already abuzz with speculation on which incumbents won’t be returning.
Party chairman Colm Imbert last Saturday announced Prime Minister Keith Rowley had instructed the PNM to open nominations for all constituencies.
The current term ends September 7. Elections can be called up to three months after, latest.
Last year, PNM selected three general election candidates : Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat (Chaguanas East), PNM Senator Ndale Young (San Juan/Barataria) and PNM assistant general secretary Daniel Dookie (Point a-Pierre.)
Yesterday, party general secretary Foster Cummings said correspondence is likely to be issued to constituencies this week to commence the process.
Party groups normally submit nominations Anyone being nominated by at last one group is eligible to be screened first by the constituency executive. PNM’s national screening team ultimately screens all nominees.
Cummings, whose name has been heard in connection with possible candidacy for La Horquetta -Talparo (held by Maxie Cuffie), didn’t respond on that. When pressed if he may contest anywhere, he said “At this point, I’d consider if asked.”
Some incumbents have expressed interest in contesting again including for San Fernando West, Point Fortin, San Fernando East , Arima, D’Abadie O’ Meara,Tunapuna and other seats.
While some frontline incumbents are expected to be among PNM’s general election team again, changes are expected in some seats where certain MPs have been negatively spotlighted.
Rowley, in a recent interview, expressed disappointment in former ministers Darryl Smith (Diego Martin Central) and Marlene McDonald (PoS South) who were removed from Cabinet.
Smith was removed following issues concerning a former Sport Ministry employee. McDonald is before the courts on seven charges of alleged corruption.
PNM Port-of-Spain South chairman Wendell Stephens said yesterday, “We’ll follow the party’s instructions when they arrive and proceed to open nominations for interested people.”
Other PNM Port-of-Spain South officials said McDonald remains very active with constituents and currently has three events that she’s hosting.
They noted she had the largest number of nominations in 2015 among other nominees Adrian Clarke, Louis Lee Singh and Ayesha Wells. McDonald, who didn’t attend last Friday’s reopening of the Red House, hasn’t commented on her future.
PNM Diego Martin Central officials said they’re awaiting official correspondence from the party and couldn’t comment on possible nominations. Names of two incumbents have been heard concerning this seat.
Yesterday, PNM constituents celebrated with the party for its 64th anniversary. This was marked by a function at the National Academy for the Performing Arts which PNM leader Rowley addressed.
The party honoured 10 people with the Dr Eric Williams Medal of Honour for long and meritorious service and also launched a PNM mobile app
On PNM’s anniversary, PNM PRO Laurel Lezama- Lee Sing said, “The PNM recognises the critical role it has played in the development of our Republic, and it’s cognisant of the role it must continue to play as we move forward along the strategic path of development for our country. “