Sunday, January 21, 2018

Penny on brother’s arrest: I have faith in judicial system

PENNELOPE Beckles-Robinson, who is contesting the leadership of the People’s National Movement (PNM), said on Saturday night that she had faith in the court and judicial system and that the police will do what they have to do.

Before scores of supporters during a public meeting in the car park of a business place off Foster Road, Sangre Grande, Beckles-Robinson admitted that it was her elder brother who was among those arrested around 5 a.m. on Saturday for possession of guns and ammunition.

She described his arrest as “a difficult day for the family, but these things do happen and we are very disturbed by it”.

“We cannot make too many comments and the investigation is taking place, but we have faith in our judicial system and court system and as a sister and an aunt you all will understand the challenges we all face,” she said.

Beckles-Robinson used the incident to point out that no one was immune from the scourge of crime and the fact that the country’s borders were not being properly protected.

“Our borders are not protected and we all know we are not immune from criminality and crime and it can come home to anyone of us and not a Trini is immune. In fact, it comes right home to my doorstep and I know my brother and none of the four of them (her relatives) have ever been charged, so we all have to have faith in the judicial process and I am hoping for a speedy investigation.”

Beckles-Robinson continued: “When I decided to run for this office, somehow you don’t understand how people can be affected when they decide to be part of your team because everybody comes under scrutiny.”

She spoke of threats made against her own campaign by her detractors, who keep telling her that her time for leadership of the party is not now.

“My time is now,” she thundered. “Some of the things I am hearing, I mean it’s desperation and fear causes people to do anything, but nobody is going to intimidate me because we must all fight for what we believe in. Don’t matter what they say or do or threaten or intimidate, nobody owns the PNM. It is the membership who owns the PNM.

“You must be clear in this life because you don’t want to worry about who have the edge because time waits on nobody.”

Beckles-Robinson recalled that her opponent for the post of PNM political leader, Dr Keith Rowley, had opted to run against the then incumbent leader of the party, Patrick Manning.

“He challenged Manning 18 years ago and I’m challenging you now...plain and simple. I mean, we want to talk of widening the base, but you do that by demonstrating that democracy is in your party.”

“You recall when (US President Barack) Obama) decided to run and people asked, where he come from, but Hillary (Clinton) was there all the time. What is Barack’s track record? But you know what? He had a dream and a plan and the people believed in him and he’s now serving a second term.”

Beckles-Robinson also dealt with the issue of errant schoolchildren, news of which made headlines last week with videos of fights between school girls.

“This is a question for all of you. We could all take the position and put them in homes and boot camps, but there was a time in the United States where they had deviant children and they came to Trinidad and Tobago looking for teachers, so what I am saying is that we don’t have to re-invent the wheel because the solutions are right here.”

She added that errant children did not simply fall from the sky, “so we have the responsibility to fix it because we created it.”