Wednesday, January 17, 2018



Pennelope Beckles

Mark Fraser

The regular monthly meeting of the People’s National Movement’s (PNM) Women’s League took a dramatic turn last Saturday when a “spiritual healer” addressed members and predicted Pennelope Beckles-Robinson would become the next prime minister.

Marva Todd, a guest speaker who was introduced as a “spiritual heal­er”, had been brought by Beckles-Robinson to address the league on the issue of domestic violence.

Sources said Todd spoke a little on the subject she was brought to deal with but then launched into a spiritual discussion.

She looked at the wall at Balisier House, which has pictures of all the party’s leaders—Dr Eric Williams, George Chambers, Patrick Manning and Keith Rowley—and stated: “The men must come down. The men must come down. And the women in the par­ty should stand firm behind Pen­ny.”

One of the attendees from the Die­go Martin West constituency remarked at the meeting: “I hope it is not my political leader she is talking down (when she said the men must come down).”

Todd stated further: “I am (fore)seeing that queen Penny would become the next Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago”.

Her statements were not well received. “Many of the women got up­set.

Some, including members from the Diego Martin Central constituency, walked out while others from the Diego Martin West constituency launched an objection,” a member of the league told the Express.

Sources said Beckles-Robinson stopped Todd, saying : “No, no, no. In case you don’t know, that (Keith Rowley) is our political leader.”

One source said she was “proud” of Beckles-Robinson when she interrupted Todd and made that statement. Sour­ces said Todd then apologised and said the Holy Spirit came over her.

One member of the Women League said yesterday : “I love Penny. But the whole thing just put Penny in a bad light. Because to an observer, it would look as though Penny set her up to do that when Penny was probably innocent to the fact that she (Todd) was going to say what she said.”

Pointing out members were told they were going to hear a presentation on domestic violence, another member said the address was at the wrong time and place.

“I have a problem with someone who is not a member of the PNM getting into the PNM business to cause ruction,” said a party member. Todd is not a member of the party.

Notwithstanding what seemed like Todd’s obvious campaigning for Beckles-Robinson, to date, Beckles-Robinson has not indicated she would be contesting the leadership. She had stated previously she would consider contesting the leadership if she had enough support within the party and if she felt her chances of success were good.

Party sources also recalled how much flak Manning got for his association with spiritual adviser Juliana Pena, who many believe contribu­ted significantly to his political down­fall.

Beckles-Robinson, whose appointment as a senator was revoked recently on the advice of Rowley, could not be reached for comment.

The Express attempted without success to reach her on Tuesday, as well as yesterday. A text was also sent to her yesterday to explain why a comment was being sought, but there was no response until 7.42 p.m. when Beckles-Robinson sent a text saying, “At the chutney monarch launch now.”

Nominations are expected to be opened for all positions in the party, including that of political leader, on January 25, at the PNM’s general council meeting.