Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Rowley, Lee Sing meet

...Trying to work out differences

Port of Spain Mayor Louis Lee Sing is unlikely to the pushed out.

Political Leader Dr Keith Rowley is working out a resolution to the impasse between People’s National Movement (PNM) members of the Port of Spain Corporation and Lee Sing.

The PNM members of the Corporation were planning to file a motion of no-confidence against Lee Sing, who was said to be gearing up for a fight on the issue.

The councillors are calling on him to either change his attitude- which is described as “high-handed”—or change his job.

However, sources said Rowley called a meeting with members of the council for 6.30 p.m. yesterday at Balisier House, Port of Spain.

Following this, a meeting was scheduled between Rowley and Lee Sing for 7.30 p.m.

But both meetings were to be preceeded by a meeting of the party’s Central Executive at 5 p.m. to discuss the issue.

Contacted yesterday, Lee Sing was unusually reticent, saying only: “At the appropriate time, all things would reveal themselves.”

The issue has come at a time when a letter from the Mayor criticising the timing of the no-confidence motion in the Prime Minister filed by Rowley, ended up in the hands of members of the Government, with at least three Government ministers quoting liberally from it, during the debate on the motion last Friday and Saturday in the House of Representatives. 

Because the issue was embarrassing to the party, many members were angered by the Mayor’s actions. And issues arising out of his alleged management style which had been festering have come to the fore, sources said. 

Rowley had said there was great focus being put on the opinion of one member and office holder.

He said he was not about punishing the expression of a point of view, notwithstanding the fact that it would have been preferred if it had been ventilated at a party's General Council. 

This is the first time such an issue has occurred in the party—a PNM-controlled Corporation in conflict. It is also the first time that Rowley has had to manage this type of dissent since becoming political leader.

Lee Sing has been an outspoken and controversial Mayor. Sources said that while he is well-intentioned, his alleged abrasive style has led to more attention being given to the “how” rather than the “what”.

Some of the measures which as Mayor have provoked strong reaction were his decision to impose a $1,300 wrecking fee and his refusal to state where the wrecked cars would be stored.

More recently he imposed a prohibition on glass bottles in the city during Carnival and he cited cricket icon Brian Lara as one of the perpetrators of the annoyance caused by loud music for fetes during the Carnival season.

Lee Sing has had a toxic relationship with Local Government Minister Chandresh Sharma whom he has accused of using threatening language towards him.