Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 9th 2015 Contents A8
Thursday, April 9, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The PNM s rejection of several
incumbents as candidates for the
upcoming general election is an
attempt to change the party s image,
political analysts say.
As to whether this would have an
impact on voters, they remained
unsure, noting that supporters always
voted for party but it was the unde-
cided who would be more likely to
vote on candidates and issues.
"Yes, he is trying to change the
image of the PNM and his own image
too as they go into the general elec-
tion," Dr Bishnu Ragoonath said.
Ragoonath said the change was
an effort to move the PNM from the
old guard to one Opposition Leader
Dr Keith Rowley would prefer, which
would support his goals and aspira-
"Yes, he s also trying to change
the ethnic image, which began with
the appointment of Diane Baldeo-
Chadeesingh and Avinash Singh as
Baldeo-Chadeesingh has since
withdrawn from the general election
race. She had been chosen for the
Chaguanas East constituency last
December but the PNM issued a
press release on Tuesday saying she
had "withdrawn her candidacy due
to personal reasons."
Ragoonath said: "But he s not try-
ing to change what exists, he s just
trying to broaden the support base
of the party.
"He s trying to ensure the PNM
comes across as fair, nationalist and
And will it give the PNM an
advantage in the general election?
"To some extent it would work
because he would be able to control
the party much more than he con-
trolled it in the past," Ragoonath said.
Responding to a question,
Ragoonath said he was not sure Row-
ley had a bad image.
Dr Winford James said there was
no evidence to suggest that Rowley,
who leads the PNM screening com-
mittee, masterminded the changing
of general election candidates.
"Not that he hasn t, you know.
It s just that there s no evidence."
James said constituency groups
nominate candidates and the screen-
ing committee, through a voting sys-
tem, selected them.
James said he was not sure Row-
ley s vote carried any more weight
than any one else s, but added that
a leader could sway people.
He said he could not comment
on the image of the PNM since he
was yet to see the final list of can-
As for the reported disenchant-
ment of incumbents who were
rejected as candidates, James said
they had indicated they would accept
"There is no law that says you
have to stay with the incumbents."
He noted that three from the old
guard, Colm Imbert, Marlene
McDonald and Rowley himself, were
still with the PNM.
James said PNM supporters would
vote for whomever the party put up.
It was the undecided voters who
might look at the candidates them-
selves, he said.
As to whether they would support
the PNM because of the new image,
James said he was not so sure.
Political analyst Mukesh Basdeo
said when Rowley took over lead-
ership of the PNM in 2010 he did
say one of his plans was to make
the party as broad-based as possi-
Basdeo said previously other eth-
nic groups in the Afro-dominated
PNM were in the minority and put
to contest seats they would be sure
He noted, under Rowley s lead-
ership, Indians like Clarence Ramb-
harat and Terrence Deyalsingh had
been put as candidates in crucial
There seemed to be an attempt
to change the ethnic image of the
PNM and also an attempt to bring
in new, fresh blood, he said.
"They seem to be trying to have
the old and the young, and a broader
base altogether at the same time."
Whether Rowley s political strate-
gies were successful or not would
depend on the voters, in particular,
the undecided, Basdeo said.
He said race would always be a
factor in general elections but the
undecided would look at the can-
didates and issues raised.
Undecided key to PNM's election chances
Dr Keith Rowley
Dr Bishnu Ragoonath
Dr Winford James
A 55-year-old labourer
who decided to drown his
sorrows in alcohol after
hearing that his wife had
a lover was ordered to
pay $15,000 for drunk
Clarence Narine, a
father of two of
Williamsville, also had to
surrender his driver s per-
mit after San Fernando
Traffic Court Magistrate
Gloria Jasmath disqualified
him from driving or
obtaining another licence
for the next three years.
Jasmath imposed the
heavy penalty as Narine
was fined $3,000 almost
18 months ago for driving
while over the prescribed
limit of alcohol consump-
The court heard that
around 12.30 pm Sunday,
WPC Sagram saw Narine s
car swerving from side to
side along the
Road, in Williamsville, and
stopped him. A strong
scent of alcohol was
detected on his breath,
whereupon he was taken
to the Gasparillo Police
Station where WPC Singh
administered a breathal-
yser test. When asked
whether he was drinking,
he responded, "I drank a
little thing officer."
In seeking to mitigate
the penalty yesterday,
defence counsel Ainsley
Lucky said his client had
an argument with his wife
earlier that day and in
anger she told him about
a "paramour," which in
layman s terms meant she
had a lover.
However, Lucky said,
that was not true, but
before she could confess
Narine had already left the
house to "drown out his
sorrow" in alcohol. Lucky
added that Narine suffered
with dental pains and
found relief through alco-
hol. In passing sentence,
Jasmath ordered Narine to
pay the fine in two weeks
or face imprisonment for
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Husband loses driver's permit after quarrel with wife
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