OPPOSITION Leader Dr Keith Rowley’s decision to leave the country on vacation during the build-up to the People’s National Movement’s (PNM) internal elections next month, where his leadership of the party is being challenged, was yesterday defended by two members of his slate.
Rowley left the country on March 31 and is expected to return home on April 10.
One of the key contests in the May 18 PNM internal election is the face-off between Rowley and Pennelope Beckles-Robinson for the post of political leader.
Opposition Member of Parliament Colm Imbert, who is contesting the post of party vice-chairman, and Opposition Senator Faris Al Rawi, who is contesting the post of Public Relations Officer, both defended Rowley’s decision to travel. Imbert said the nightly meetings have taken a toll on Rowley and he needs a break.
“He has been going to meetings night after night. It takes a toll, I went to a few and I mean I was just an observer in some of them and I mean when you have to drive to Oropouche one day, Sangre Grande the next day, Moruga the next day and you are the last speaker to speak and you finish 11 o’clock and then you are expected to stay there and socialise with the community because if you leave they will say you are rude that kind of thing.......I know Dr Rowley has been out until one o’clock in the morning over the last several weeks and I think he deserves a break, he is only human like anybody else, everybody else does that, the Prime M inister does that so I don’t see that as a big deal you do not want the man to drop down do you,” Imbert said.
Al Rawi said the team will continue Rowley’s work in his absence.
“We are very proud to be able to lend support to our political leader to allow him to get a small reprieve and to recharge and come back and face our internal election campaign as it continues and the national issues which he continues to be the leader in prosecuting,” Al Rawi said.
Imbert and Al Rawi made the statements during a news conference held at the Office of the Opposition Leader yesterday.