PEOPLE'S NATIONAL MOVEMENT

Building a Nation Together

  
  
  

Dear Editor

Lee Sing got his facts wrong again

As General Secretary of the People's National Movement (PNM) I can attest that under the leadership of Dr. Keith Rowley, the party has always been open to all views from members such as Louis Lee Sing including when he was a member of the party's General Council.

While one may be tempted to view the sentiments in the article published on page 13of the Express of Thursday April 24, under the heading 'PNM elections: to hell in a hand basket?' as being driven by Lee Sing's political tabanca, there are serious factual errors which need to be corrected on behalf of the PNM.

It is not true, for example, that application forms to join the PNM were scarce since November 2013. Lee Sing has produced no evidence to support that claim. The fact is, constituencies received application forms for the year 2013and out of the 100 given to the Arima Constituency they submitted only 22 new members for the period.

It is also not true that 7,000 membership forms were rejected. No such claim has come from any official of the party and certainly not from the General Secretary. The only claim to that effect was made by Ronald Boynes, who is aspiring to the post of General Secretary, but who also never produced any evidence to support it.

Those comments were made in an interview with Fazeer Mohammed on TV6's Morning Edition programme on April 15, less than 24 hours after the general council approved the preliminary list, and have been repeated by the media without any attempt to verify the information.

As someone seeking to comment on the readiness of the party to conduct internal elections, Lee Sing does not seem even aware of the party's regulations or its officers, which may have been understandable given his clear attempt to provide ammunition to those persons opposed to the PNM.

For example, he claims that the chairman of the party's Membership Screening Committee, is a member of Dr. Rowley's constituency, the fact is, the chairman is Cuthbert Pierre, chairman of the Toco/Sangre Constituency who was never a member of Diego Martin West constituency.

The General Secretary never gave the independent Elections Supervisory Committee any directions regarding the distribution of the list. The election regulations of the party clearly states in clause iv that the Elections Supervisory Committee shall cause such list to be made available in all Constituency Offices of the Movement, additionally, the complete list would be available at Balisier House and the South Regional Office.

Lee Sing is not a member of the General Council or the Central Executive, and therefore he is not authorized to speak on behalf of the party because he has no factual information and it is obvious that he is being badly advised and as such his article is in keeping with his ongoing campaign against Dr. Rowley's leadership.

I have been in the PNM long enough to recognise Lee Singh's modus operandi, who, with the help of our political opponents, is desperately trying to bring our great party into disrepute.

ASHTON FORD

GENERAL SECRETARY

 

CONSTITUENCIES

DATES 2014

TIME/VENUE

1

 

Friday 18th  April 20

 

Saturday 19th April

Sunday 20th April

Monday 21st April

Tuesday 22nd April

Good Friday

 

 

Easter

 

 

 

2

Tobago East

Wednesday 23rd April

6:30 p.m. Mason Hall High School

 

 

3

Tobago

Friday 25th April

Saturday 26th April

Sunday 27th April

 

 

 

 

4

Caroni East / Central/Couva North & Chaguanas West

Monday 28th April

7:00 p.m.

5

Moruga/Tableland and

Princes Town

Tuesday 29th April

7:00 p.m.

 

6

Tunapuna/St Augustine

Wednesday 30th April

7:00 p.m.

7

San Fernando West

Thursday 1st May

5:00 p.m.

8

Tobago West

Napariam/Tabaquite

Saturday 3rd May

5:00 p.m.

9

Diego Martin West

Sunday 4th May

4:00 p.m.

 

CONSTITUENCIES

DATES 2014

TIME/VENUE

10

Laventille East/Morvant

Monday 5th May

7:00 p.m. Russell Latapy School, Morvant

 

11

Diego Martin Central

Tuesday 6th May

7:00 p.m. Community Centre, Wendy Fitzwilliam Blvd, Diamond Vale, Diego Martin

 

12

 

Siparia

 

Wednesday 7th May

 

 

7:00 p.m. Iere High School Bayanie Street, Siparia

 

13

Cumuto/Manzanilla

Thursday 8th May

7:00 p.m.

14

Port of Spain Rally

Saturday 10th May

2.00 p.m.Paddock Area, Queen’s Park Savannah

Our nation started its day with the sad news of the passing of one of our most distinguished citizens. Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson served us with distinction as Trinidad and Tobago's third Prime Minister and subsequently President.

Mr Robinson has left a legacy of leadership which has come to immortalise the words "Attack with full force". Even in the midst of what has become known as one of the darkest periods in our nation's history, he was resolute in his role as leader.

Mr Robinson's love for Trinidad and Tobago was aptly demonstrated through service to this twin island state and a special dedication to Tobago.

On behalf of the People's National Movement, in which Mr Robinson served as Deputy Political Leader, I acknowledge his distinguished contribution to this country's development and join the rest of the nation in mourning his loss. The country has indeed lost one of its finest citizens and thus, we are poorer for it, but so much richer for having him as one of us.

Dr Keith Rowley

The Sunday Express, in yet another editorial based on erroneous information published on Sunday April 20, 2014 has once again displayed open bias against PNM Political Leader, Dr Keith Rowley, and a brutal disregard of the facts on record including in your own newspaper.

In the editorial titled 'Does Balisier House back THA self-rule plan?', the Express editorial writer seems unaware that the PNM changed its constitution in a well-publicised convention held at the St Augustine Secondary School on Sunday December 2, 2012, that was widely reported, including in the Express, to give the Tobago Council of the PNM, precisely the kind of autonomy which the island of Tobago is now seeking in national affairs.

The PNM at a convention in March 2011, which was attended and reported on by all media, had previously passed a resolution supporting the changes being advocated by the Tobago Council. The party also amended its own constitution to give effect to the letter and spirit of what is being demanded in Tobago.

The amendment to the PNM constitution gave the Tobago Council full autonomy to elect its own political leader, who serves as a deputy political leader of the PNM, and to screen its own candidates for elections whether at the general election or Tobago House of Assembly level. The answer to the question of whether Balisier House supports Tobago's aspiration for full autonomy was, therefore, answered at the convention where the resolution supporting that constitutional change was overwhelmingly adopted giving the Tobago PNM, self-rule.

It was on this basis, the Tobago PNM approached the Tobago electorate in the 2013 general election and was given an unprecedented 12-0 mandate while its main competitor, the Tobago Organization of the People, campaigned under the direction of the People Partnership and was wiped out.

This was despite an attempt by the People's Partnership administration to introduce at the last minute, in a middle of an election, a bill that was repugnant to the expressed will of Tobagonians gleaned form a series of consultations conducted by a team of eminent Tobagonians. It was Dr Rowley, who interrupted his presence assisting the THA's election campaign in Tobago, who had to rush back to Parliament and lead the PNM's opposition to that Bill, which saw its repudiation.

Given that these facts were widely reported, including in all three daily newspapers, one has to question the recurring tendency to target Dr Rowley's leadership by Express editorial writers who continue to display gross ignorance of the PNM's history and seem unaware of even contemporary political developments.

Against these facts the Express arrives at a startling position in the editorial: "That the rhetoric coming out of the Tobago Council of the PNM has yet to find echoes in Balisier House, Port of Spain, may be a measure of the slowness of change accomplished since 2010 under political leader Dr Keith Rowley, himself Tobago-born. "

It is as if the convention of December 2, 2012 never happened.

Coming so soon after your newspaper in an editorial criticised Dr Rowley for fraternising with an outstanding former MP, who was unflatteringly described as a "notorious motor mouth", and also displayed ignorance of the role and qualifications for Youth Officer under the PNM constitution, one is left to wonder at the message being sent to the national population.

The PNM respects the media's right to report and criticise but requests only that in commenting on the business of the country's oldest and most respected political organization, due credit must be given to the facts before formulating opinions.

Ashton Ford

General Secretary

The People’s National Movement mourns the passing of Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson, SC, OCC, TC, as one of this country’s truly international statesmen whose commitment to Trinidad and most certainly Tobago, was unmatched by anyone in his lifetime.

Mr. Robinson’s contribution to Trinidad and Tobago, the wider Caricom region, and the international community has seen him play a leading role in every political administration locally and regionally during a political career that spanned five decades, in which he has been Member of Parliament, Chairman, Tobago House of Assembly (THA), Prime Minister and President. His greatest distinction was the formation of the International Criminal Court for which he had long lobbied following a proposal he presented to the 1989 United Nations General Assembly, and for which, Trinidad and Tobago has been honoured with a seat on the Court.

He began his political career as a PNM Member and unsuccessfully contested the first general election in 1956 as a candidate for Tobago, Mr. Robinson, from early in his political career, was identified for national and regional leadership. He was elected on a PNM ticket with the short-lived Federal Parliament in 1958, and following his success in the 1961 general election, he was appointed the country’s first Minister of Finance and later deputy political leader, before going on to form his own party.

 Despite the exigencies of adversarial politics, Mr. Robinson has always been treasured for the immense contribution he made to the PNM in his formative years and, even more importantly, to Trinidad and Tobago, in guiding the nation though the difficult period that followed the economic downturn of 1986 during the stewardship of the National Alliance for Reconstruction administration. We also owe him a debt of gratitude for the display of exemplary leadership during the 1990 attempted coup that helped preserve our democracy.

It is for these reasons that under a PNM Cabinet, special arrangements were approved to cater to the demands of Mr. Robinson’s health needs and, the PNM controlled Tobago House of Assembly approved a proposal to have the island’s international airport renamed in this honour.

Throughout his almost six decades in political life, Mr. Robinson was able to achieve a singular distinction for incorruptibility which he championed throughout his career and which he was able to use when called upon to make a Solomonic decision to choose the winner of the tied elections of 2001.

Mr. Robinson’s commitment to a nation built on moral and spiritual values is as relevant today, more than any time in our history, and his passing is representative of just how much we have lost and how much the country and the region will miss his exemplary and statesmanlike leadership in the coming years.

The PNM extends condolences to his family and loved ones and stands ready, willing and able to consult with the government for discussions on a suitable memorial for a remarkable life spent in service to the people of Trinidad and Tobago and the world.