Saturday, January 20, 2018

Rowley: T&T in danger

'Kamla using race to rally support'


LEADERS CONVENE: PNM political leader Dr Keith Rowley, centre, greets THA Chief Secretary Orville London during the PNM special convention yesterday at the St Augustine Secondary School. Looking on, from left, are party chairman Franklin Khan, deputy political leader Marlene McDonald, Joan Yullie-Williams and deputy political leader Rohan Sinanan. —Photo: CURTIS CHASE

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Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley said yesterday that statements by the Prime Minister that she was being betrayed by her own Cabinet were an admission by her that the business of the people of Trinidad and Tobago was not in good hands and the country was in peril. 

Rowley also said that as the Congress of the People was attacking Persad-Bissessar's leadership, the Prime Minister had chosen to blame the People's National Movement (PNM).

"Today I want to say to the Prime Minister if you find yourself up a particular creek without a paddle, it has nothing to do with the PNM. It has everything to do with you." He said it was not the PNM which appointed Reshmi Ramnarine as head of the SSA, or proclaimed Section 34 or set out to build a highway and was making a "total mess of it".

Rowley also rejected "out of hand the nastiness" of the Prime Minister using race to rally support for her Government in the face of growing disaffection.

Addressing the PNM's special convention at the St Augustine Secondary yesterday, Rowley said he had been invited to the Divali Nagar this year which he attended, not for the first time. He said the Prime Minister, and the Minister of National Security, Jack Warner, launched the most vulgar and obscene attack on him for associating with the NCIC (National Council of Indian Culture).

"That was the Prime Minister seeking to rally support on the basis of race and to disqualify me from associating with fellow citizens on the basis of my race and their race," he said. 

Rowley said on Saturday, addressing a UNC party congress, the Prime Minister sought to address a problem which has now surfaced with full fury in the full view of the population where her Cabinet is now being called a cabal and she agreed that she was being blackmailed. But she turned to the PNM, claiming that the Opposition "only last week" severely criticised the Government for developing the area south of Caroni. "Where and when did this PNM Opposition severely criticise the Kamla Persad-Bissessar- Government for developing this country south of Caroni?," Rowley asked. "So two weeks ago it (she) was trying to rally support based on race. Last (Saturday) night it (she) was trying to rally support by dividing the country based on geography," Rowley said.

He noted that Persad-Bissessar also told her supporters that they know the cost of losing power, and that the PNM "will discriminate, will deny, will frustrate you at every turn". "So in other words, the Prime Minister, finding herself in the hapless situation of being exposed for what she really is, and her Cabinet being exposed for the danger it poses to the people of Trinidad and Tobago, is now telling half the country, south of the Caroni River that the PNM poses a threat to their well being...because (she is alleging that) we will discriminate, create dissonance and of course we are racial."

"Today I want to reject out of hand this nastiness, this inefficiency of governance," he said. Rowley said the Prime Minister was seeing the loss of the Tobago House of Assembly election 2013, the local government elections and the 2015 general election and the use of race was a desperate measure to hold on to support.  

Rowley said what the PNM had been fearing and warning about was coming to pass with a vengeance. He referred to statements by former minister Verna St Rose Greaves that the country did not have a proper functioning Cabinet and the Prime Minister was not in charge and was afraid of other persons who were in charge. Quoting an old Tobago saying, he said: "If alligator come from water and tell you river dirty, don't doubt it."

"This threat posed to the people of Trinidad and Tobago can only come to an end when the people intervene, " he said, adding that the Government was moving from crisis to crisis.