Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 13th 2013 Contents Four-year-old Annalese Phillips, of Couva, gets a special greeting from Santa
Claus during his visit to the Pediatric Ward of the San Fernando General
Hospital with students of Presentation College San Fernando, on Wednesday.
Santa and the group distributed snacks and toys to children on the ward.
(See page A9) PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
Friday, December 13, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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for DECEMBER 12th 2013
Well known People s National
Movement (PNM) Arima stalwart
and constituency executive offi-
cer, Bobby Charles, says PNM
constituencies must be the ones
to decide if they want lady vice
chairman Pennelope Beckles-
Robinson to contest the PNM
leadership in 2014 or not.
Charles made the comment as
he came to the defence of Beck-
les-Robinson after she was crit-
icised by some party quarters for
her appearance at a United Nation-
al Congress (UNC) curry duck
function last weekend.
The situation has compounded
speculation that Beckles-Robinson
may challenge PNM leader Dr
Keith Rowley for the leadership in
next year s internal election. She
has not said an outright "no" on
contesting and in fact was quoted
earlier this week as saying she
didn t see "a problem with her
contesting the leadership."
Charles, who has been a PNMite
for 45 years, was secretary of the
PNM s Arima unit for 23 years and
is currently elections officer of the
unit. He said he was the one who
got Beckles-Robinson to join the
PNM years ago.
"Why is she being criticised for
stopping at a function that hap-
pened to be held by the UNC?"
"People don t know how much
of a community spirited person
Penny is. She ll be passing in her
car and see people playing all fours,
and stop and play a hand with
"Her Christmas parties fete
every child from La Fillette to Blan-
chisseusse. When she was a child,
her family would send her to mar-
ket at 9 am and she d come home
2 pm - she was so outgoing."
He added, "So if she stopped in
when she saw an event at a venue
owned by a PNMite (Vijay Ramlal)
and it happened to be a UNC
thing, she shouldn t go in? Even
though both sides argue in Par-
liament, when they adjourn to the
(Parliament ) tearoom, everyone is
"That s being civil. (Is it that)
people have to be uncivilised if
they re in politics and not talk to
each other. How would anything
be worked out?"
allegations, Charles said Beckles-
Robinson had co-ordinated PNM s
Arima local government candidates
well enough to bring home all the
Arima Borough Corporation seats
and assist others to victory along
the East-West corridor.
"She did so well that PNMites
who d parked up in 2010 voted
again and even people who were
COP members gave us their vote.
She was the reason PNM did well
in some corridor marginals. I m
the elections officer, I should
know," Charles said.
He added, "I m for peace in the
party, so my view is constituencies
should be the ones to say if they
want Penny to contest the lead-
ership or not, let the people say
what they want."
Beckles-Robinson was publicly
lauded in a press advertisement
this week by the "Friends of
Arima" group. The group thanked
Beckles-Robinson for her Senate
contribution after she was axed
from the Upper House by Rowley
last week. Fitzgerald Hinds, who
was also removed, was reappointed
this week to fill in for Faris al Rawi,
who went to South Africa with
Rowley for the Nelson Mandela
Contacted on the ad campaign,
Barbara Ryan, a member of PNM s
Arima executive, said the executive
had nothing to do with the ad.
Rather, she said it was placed by
people whose lives Beckles-Robin-
son had touched.
Ryan said, "It was done by var-
ious people and small businesses
in and around Arima proper, Pinto
Road, Santa Rosa, Wallerfield and
other nearby areas in the corridor
who recognise her value and the
work she has been doing, and who
clearly felt hurt at the way she was
treated. It is my understanding this
was their way of saying thank you
to her and expressing their support
for her. It s an indication of the
love people have for her."
However, chairman of PNM s
Arima unit, Cagney Cassimire, dis-
tanced himself from the "Friends
of Arima" ad, saying his unit was-
n t involved and didn t know who
Arima rallies behind Penny in PNM tiff
decide her fate
"She was the reason PNM
did well in some corridor
marginals. I'm the elections
officer, I should know,"
PNM ARIMA CONSTITUENCY
EXECUTIVE OFFICER, BOBBY
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