POLITICAL leader of the People’s National Movement (PNM) Dr Keith Rowley believes that some members of the San Fernando East constituency are contributing to problems the PNM may be facing regarding its upcoming internal election.
Rowley said he would have been very surprised if the constituents did not “solidly” support the PNM’s former leader Patrick Manning who has been the San Fernando East MP for more than 30 years.
Speaking with supporters at the Pleasantville Community Centre, San Fernando on Monday night, Rowley praised Manning, who was notably absent from the meeting.
Rowley said there was no victimisation of the constituency and it remains the “frontline constituency,” saying “if the San Fernando East constituency be for you, who can be against you?”
However, Rowley said there have been several PNM-organised events in which San Fernando East constituency members deliberately did not participate, including a family day held in Skinner Park and the recent opening of the PNM’s regional office in Mon Repos.
He said: “Our frontline constituency did not take an active part in that. I was very disappointed.”
Referring to the opening of the regional office Rowley said: “On the day we opened that office, we had a written programme and San Fernando East was supposed to speak. They did not take part in that. So who is the one to come here and talk about who victimising who and who spiting who? You are the problem.”
The political leader said it was his job to “take the party out of Balisier House and into the communities where our members are, to strengthen our party.”
However, Rowley thanked those present for not only supporting him as leader but remaining faithful to the PNM.
Rowley urged PNM supporters to vote on May 18, for who they wanted as leader. It will be the first time, the PNM will have a one-man, one-vote election.
He promised supporters: “I will open up the party in such a way so that members of the party will always gain control. One thing I will do is to give authority back to the membership so that those in office will always be subject to you the members.”
During the open forum, the PNM leader received advice from supporter Gerard Quamie.
He said usually when PNM members found themselves in positions of authority “we tend to get complacent and we forget the people who march behind us.”
“The closed-door policy after we enter the corridors of power, that should be no more,” he said.
Rowley also said Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar should not expect him to join her in any prayers for this country.
Last week, the Government led by Rodger Samuel, Minister of Diversity and Social Integration held a week of prayer.
Rowley said the Government failed to deal with the crime situation and that was the reason for the week of prayer.
“When is time to solve the crime problem, they telling us, let us come to pray as if we have not been praying, as if we don’t know how to pray, as if I praying with them. I praying at home and I pray in a safe place. I not praying next to them,” he said.
When the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba was mentioned, Rowley said the People’s Partnership Government refused to complete it, just so the PNM could continue getting the blame of mismanagement of funds and procedures.
He also criticised Petrotrin’s handling of the oil spill in La Brea and said the Government was playing politics with the San Fernando Teaching Hospital because patients were still suffering.
That hospital is due to be opened tomorrow.