After five years of witnessing our Nation being brought to the brink of destruction and ruin; and after ignoring relentless calls for a return to the polls, time has inevitably caught up with the UNC regime, forcing them to reluctantly set the General Election date at September 7th 2015.
It was the furthest point to which they could have stretched their deplorable tenure in office. In the final analysis, the Election has simply called them!
And now, we have approximately 12 weeks to go - long enough to become weary of the deliberate resistance by the UNC, to what patriotic citizens honestly and sincerely hope for our nation: change, a return to good governance and decency in public office.
It is clear that the full backlash of the UNC Government’s countless indiscretions is taking a severe toll on them and by extension the dignity of our country and people. The UNC is now frantically engaged in trying to present to the country, an expensively contrived propaganda campaign, around the personality of their failed leader, as a substitute for a respectable political party with a record of behaviour that can stand on its own.
Against the fiercest odds, you in our party, and the national faithful, have held the fort; never wavering, never withering, always believing.
Now is the time to accelerate our efforts, if our citizens are to be comforted that they will soon reap the rewards of their patience, determination and hard work. This is no time for complacency.
Soon, our Movement of, and for the People will be rolling out its election campaign initiatives.
We have been extremely meticulous in our resolve to present the nation with a balanced team of outstanding candidates, all of whom will make us proud to be the only great party that has ever adorned the landscape of our beautiful nation. There is none like us; none that can match us, and none that can surpass us in this our 60th year of service to all the people of our nation.
And now, your candidates need your full support and all the time and resources that you can put at their disposal.
The people of Tobago entirely rejected the UNC government’s proxy, in the THA election and embraced the PNM in all 12 seats. The people of Trinidad delivered a devastating rejection to both the UNC and COP in Local Government Elections, and embraced the PNM in over 70% of all the seats available. The people of St. Joseph got rid of UNC and elected our candidate in a hard-fought by-election. Now finally, we will complete the job in 2015 and restore Trinidad to good governance and decency in public office.
The time has come to re-establish the pride of place, which Trinidad and Tobago once enjoyed - one of the most exemplary and beautiful nations in the Caribbean, and a highly respected member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Let us now reach out together and carry our party’s proud record of national development and policies, to unlock the potential of all our country’s people.
You will continue to hear from me as the campaign progresses.
To everyone in the PNM family, all our supporters and the wider national faithful, I say to you, the difference between the country we have and the country we want for our children, is the work we do now and the decisions we make.
So let’s do this right, let’s do this now and let’s do this together!
September 7th, here we come.
Trinidad and Tobago is again commemorating the occasion of Indian Arrival Day. It is a day dedicated to remembering and celebrating the arrival of East Indian indentured labourers to these shores and their enormous contribution to the development of our twin Island state from that fateful day one hundred and seventy years ago.
I imagine that it couldn’t be easy for any of the East Indian indentured workers to leave some of their families, friends, relatives and customs to embark on the long journey to the West Indies. It is believed that our identities are greatly influenced by our environment and while this may be so, we are equally sure that we in turn influence our society. This is clearly evident in Trinidad and Tobago.
The influence of the East Indian indentured workers and the generations that followed have made and continue to make an indelible impact on our society. Trinidad and Tobago wouldn’t be what it is today had it not been for the likes of Adrian Cola Rienzi, Rudranath Capeldeo, Kamaluddin Mohammed and so many others too numerous to mention. Moreover, people of East Indian descent have made their presence felt in every sphere of life in our beloved nation and the world over.
It is therefore with a great sense of pride and patriotism that I take this opportunity, on behalf of the leadership and members of the People’s National Movement to recognise our East Indian brothers and sisters and wish Trinidad and Tobago a happy Indian Arrival Day and may we all continue to work side by side for the further development and prosperity of all the people Trinidad and Tobago.
Dr Keith Rowley
Leader of the Opposition
One year ago Ralph Maraj issued a call to the People's National Movement (PNM) and in particular, Political Leader Dr. Keith Rowley, to present the Party's five year proposals to the nation.
He was persistent in his call using every opportunity through the entire media forum, namely radio, television and newspaper columns, to criticize the Party and Dr. Rowley for not acceding to his suggestions. This, despite the fact that Dr. Rowley has been working on and unveiling a range of policies to various interest groups and the fact that they are open for public comments on the Party’s website.
But his latest outburst, which was published in the Express newspaper on May 25th under the heading "Partnership outshines PNM" beats all his previous outrageous public utterances.
It is obvious that he did not attend the PNM's Annual Sports and Family Day at Nelson Mandela Park, Port of Spain and therefore was in no position to complain about the size of the crowd. In fact, the article seemed to be simply a collation of UNC talking points.
When the PNM, in Opposition, could mobilize over twenty thousand people to attend the event without any assistance from the taxpayer, and successfully complete the programme which included cricket, football, all fours competition, athletics and the march past of 31 Constituencies, along with entertainment from several artistes, any impartial observer would come to the conclusion that this year's Sports and Family Day was indeed an outstanding success.
The Political Leader's address featured current affairs that impact on the governance of the country, particularly the brazen attempt by this UNC-led Government to interfere with state agencies, especially the Integrity Commission. He issued an open challenge to the Prime Minister to call the general elections if she is so confident of having the support of the electorate.
We will not, under any circumstances, bow to the pressure of people like Mr. Maraj and others who would like to dictate to us how we conduct our business as they pursue a UNC agenda. While they have spent the year assassinating the character of Dr. Rowley, in an out of Parliament, the PNM has been unveiling policies.
If the UNC chose last Sunday to launch its campaign that is their right so to do, but the PNM will conduct our affairs in accordance with our plans and programme.
And in case Mr. Maraj has a memory lapse, I wish to remind him and the national community, that the PNM began working on our policies since 2011. Ironically, Mr. Maraj was part of the team that started the process, having participated in the exercise up to the time when he was a facilitator at one of our retreats in St. Joseph.
Since then, the party successfully contested three major elections and underwent several significant changes including the adjustments to the Party's Constitution, holding of Internal Elections under the historic “One Man One Vote System”, which was followed by the staging of the Delegates Convention at the Hyatt Hotel and Conference Centre to deal with the Strategic Policy Document; and in November the Party held its 45th Convention at the Grand Stand, Queen's Park Savannah.
It is imperative that I make the point that, while the Party undertook all these activities involving massive consultations with the involvement of the population and the Media, Ralph Maraj maintained his illogical stance that we were not communicating with the electorate.
He is free to shower praises on the Prime Minister for her address at the UNC Rally last Sunday, which did not deal with the several scandals, missteps and corruption that have plagued our beloved country over the last five years. In fact, many of them were recycled initiatives copied from the 2010 PNM Manifesto which she tore up at a similar event five years ago.
Dr. Rowley continues to deal with several national issues whenever he speaks. This is the case whether on a political platform or the Seminar for Candidates and Campaign Managers at St Joseph; or also at the Radisson Hotel in another Session which was held for the Candidates, Campaign Managers and potential Platform Speakers.
Both addresses by the Political Leader received extensive coverage by all sections of the Media.
Mr. Maraj is free to choose to endorse any Political Party he likes, but in so doing he must get his facts straight before making false claims against the PNM, whose policies he was championing just over five years ago, when the Party was in Office. As a former PNM MP, Cabinet Minister, and also Special Advisor and Speech Writer to Prime Minister Patrick Manning for nine years, he should also know that we do not operate by the whims and fancies of individuals, especially those who would like us to peak at the wrong time.
Mr. Maraj should be well aware that the PNM is not using or abusing State Resources in the Election Campaign, and that is the issue he should be concerned about if he is as Independent as he claims to be.
Ms. Omatie Lyder
Editor in Chief
Port of Spain
Dear Ms. Lyder
I wish to categorically refute an erroneous report which was published in today’s Express that quoted me as saying “…he (Warner) should seek permission from the PNM to have a motion calling for Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley’s suspension to be rescinded.”
That report appeared on Page 3 under the heading “Jack: Khan’s comments insulting.”
I further state that I never uttered those words either at the post General Council Press Conference on Saturday May 16th or to any Journalist thereafter. In fact I never spoke to Ms. Anna Ramdass who was also not at the Press Conference.
In the circumstances, I trust that your newspaper will do what is necessary to correct this grave error.