Sunday, February 18, 2018

Pennelope: I can handle the blows


campaign trail: Pennelope Beckles-Robinson, PNM internal elections candidate, greets supporters during her meeting at Bagatelle Basketball Court, Diego Martin, on Thursday night. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

Mark Fraser

Aspiring leader of the People’s National Movement (PNM) Pennelope Beckles-Robinson asserted she is not weak and come May 18 she will still be standing despite the blows and attacks being flung her way on the campaign trail.

Beckles-Robinson was speaking at a campaign meeting at Bagatelle basketball court, Diego Martin, on Thursday night.

Referring to the court matter where her brother and members of his family were charged for illegal guns, Beckles-Robinson said this was used to attack her and throw off support as many though voters would “fold up”, but they did not.

She said many accusations have been levelled against her including that she is a weak leader, that she is in bed with other political parties such as the United National Congress (UNC), the Congress of the People (COP) and the Independent Liberal Party (ILP).

Beckles-Robinson made it clear her loyalty is with the PNM.

“They want to say ‘yuh weak and yuh this and yuh that’, but how they fraid meh so? If a person weak, then one lash and they fall down. But they pelting lash since ’bout January month you know, and I eh fall down yet and aint falling at all, I will be standing come the 18th of May,.” said Beckles.

“I fear nothing, I fear no one, the only person I fear is God and they could do what they want, they could call me what they want, I don’t care, I not listening, I not bothering, let them say what they want,” said Beckles-Robinson.

She said people have also been saying now was not her time to lead the PNM.

“If the Lord wants me  to be the leader of the 18th of May, I will be the leader of the PNM, I could walk with my head high, I could walk with no fear,” she said.

She said she remains calm in the face of all that was being spewed against her because her focus is on the party and its future—to modernise the PNM and make it attractive to all.

“What is it about me they fraid? What it is? Tell them don’t worry, nah, competition is healthy for the party!” she said.

“There are people who are afraid of change and it is causing them to panic and it is causing them to say some things that they are going to regret,” she added.

She said people do not pelt stones at an empty mango tree. “Penny team is a bearing team, that’s why they pelting!” she said.

Beckles-Robinson said it took 58 years for the PNM to change its system to allow every member to vote and each person has a democratic right to choose who he or she thinks is the best leader. She said supporters are being threatened, bullied and intimidated but come May 18 they will choose the best leader.

Beckles-Robinson said she joined the PNM 24 years ago and served in all capacities from Local Government councillor, Opposition senator, Opposition MP, deputy speaker, chairman of Joint Select Committees, chief whip and she also served in various positions in the PNM itself.

She said when she contested for the chairmanship of the PNM and lost by three votes against Franklin Khan, she called for a recount and someone moved a motion for the ballots to be destroyed before this was done.

“Not this time!” she declared receiving cheers from the crowd.