Saturday, February 24, 2018

Be thankful, not cocky

As PNM celebrates THA victory, chairman warns:


LOYAL LADY: People's National Movement political leader Dr Keith Rowley, right, applauds Kalawatee Rampersad after presenting her with an award for being a long-serving supporter of the party on Thursday at Balisier House. —Photo: AYANNA KINSALE

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People's National Movement (PNM) chairman Franklin Khan has told party members that they should savour the Tobago victory, be thankful for it and be re-energised but "for heaven sake, don't get cocky from it".

Khan was addressing the PNM's Interfaith Thanksgiving Service and awards function to commemorate the 57th Anniversary of the party at Balisier House on Thursday night.

Stressing that members should be humbled by the experience of the PNM winning all 12 of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) seats, Khan said while the party had won one battle, there was still another battle to be fought in the form of the Local Government elections in July. The culmination of the war would be the general elections of 2015, he said.

However, Khan said Thursday's function could not have come at a better time, when the party was celebrating a resounding victory at the THA polls. "Under the distinguished and visionary leadership of Dr Keith Rowley in Trinidad and Tobago and under the astute and mature leadership of Orville London in Tobago, the PNM is back on course to return to the corridors of power," he said.

Apostle Vivian Duncan prophesied that it would not be long when "this leader (Rowley) and this party (PNM) would be summoned for leadership". There were loud cheers from the crowd.

Duncan advised Rowley to "tighten up his team in the next 90 days because in short order they would be called to give guidance to this land". But he said he was releasing the same solemn warning he released to former leader Patrick Manning in August 1998 when he had prophesied that he (Manning) and the PNM would get back into power.

Duncan said he warned Manning that if this happened he had to put the name of God and the principles by which he worked at the top of the totem pole of decision-making. He said at that time Manning said yes. "We know what happened since then," he said. He said if the PNM gets back, "There will be friction and fighting for power...Everybody giddy with power, everybody drunk with power." He asked, "When God allows you to stand again, will there be truth and integrity?"

Duncan said it was time for the PNM team to speak the same language. "Everybody must be on the same page," he said, cautioning the PNM leader that once he makes a vow, when he gets into power, he must keep it.

In his address Rowley said no team of horses has won any race where the horses are pointing in different directions and where the carriage is in front of the horse. "This PNM team is going towards victory whenever we are tested," he said.

Among those who sang at the function were Patrice Inglesbirth, Sean Daniel and the Burton sisters but it was newly-elected THA member Handel Beckles who brought the house down with his rendition of "How Great Thou Art" and "Great is thy Faithfulness".

—See Page 19

Award recipients:

• Kalawatee Rampersad, 82, who ran

against Basdeo Panday for the PNM

in the Couva North constituency on

two occasions.

• Former general secretary, the late Nicholas

Simonette (his son Russell collected the

award on his father's behalf).

• Former Point Fortin MP, Cyril Rogers, 89.

• Former minister and party chairman John

Donaldson (his son John Jr collected the


• Williams McKenzie who was the lone

PNM member in the THA for many


• Former minister and deputy political

leader Errol Mahabir (Pennelope Beckles-

Robinson collected the award on his be-


• Former Women's League chairman,

Phyllis Mitchell (Marilyn Gordon col

lected the award on her behalf).