Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 29th 2013 Contents away from the Government.
"They do not seem to be doing anything
to turn that tide and maybe it s because
they do not know how to, but they seem
to still be in a political bubble even after
four losses at the polls," James said.
Ups, downs and RamJackDay...an un-
James said it was Warner s split with
the Government and his subsequent public
statements about the cabal and the cliques
within the party that gave the first indi-
cation that all was not well.
"That was a momentous development
because whether it is acknowledged or
not, Jack Warner was instrumental in the
installation of the UNC and the Partnership
in Government," he said.
He said Warner s complete distancing
from the PP also triggered the return of
former prime minister Basdeo Panday and
former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence
Maharaj and started talk of the three unit-
ing as a political force.
"I don t know if there s any truth to
that, it is so outlandish," James said.
"I am not willing to give it any thought
at this time."
Rampersad too did not believe that Pan-
day or Maharaj would return to politics.
"I think Panday is having fun," she said.
"I do not see him forging any major
alliance as all three have lost elections and
have been enemies. That would be an
Rampersad said neither Panday nor
Maharaj had the electorate s support base
to contest any election.
This, she said, coupled with Warner s
alliance with the almost defunct National
Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) was
evidence of his desperation.
"Warner grasping at straws. That affil-
iation with the NAR is a phenomenal mis-
take that he should not have made. It is
a sign of desperation that he should not
have shown at this point in time," she said.
'Rowley kept the Govt on
its toes in Senate'
It was the best of recent times for the
Opposition PNM, who in the past three
years found their footing again and in three
of the four elections ended up laughing
all the way to the electoral bank with a
pocketful of public support.
But that resurgence of public support
came at a price. Rumours of possible
mutiny against leader Dr Keith Rowley
rocked the party early in the year, but as
is customary for the close knit unit, the
seniors closed ranks and smiled for the
cameras, denying that anything was amiss.
The talk surfaced that longtime party
member Penelope Beckles had the lead-
ership chair in her sights and was ready
to challenge Rowley.
But after launching a revamped image
as a more personable and approachable
future prime minister and coming off the
high of three victories in the elections,
Rowley was not about to cede.
By the end of the year, those rumours
grew fresh legs and ran through the public
when Rowley announced a senatorial
change-up. When Beckles was renounced
no one expressed much surprise, but when
Rowley axed his close friend senator
December 29, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Fitzgerald Hinds, even a few party seniors were
With the internal election expected early in the
new year and a general election the year after that,
all eyes are on the PNM for their next course of
"It is an interesting dynamic, but I think Dr Row-
ley validated himself as the Opposition Leader if
not the political leader of the PNM," Rampersad
Rampersad said Rowley has succeeded as the
Opposition Leader because he managed to "keep
the Government on their toes" in the Senate.
"However he has inherited a set support base
and it would be interesting to see if he was able
to expand on that. It is more than including a young
Indo-Trinidadian on the Senate line-up," she said.
But having said that, Rampersad added that she
did not see Beckles having enough support to
"wrest" leadership from Rowley.
James too believed that Rowley may be challenged
for leadership but would be victorious.
"They cannot afford to change him. He is the
one who allowed the challenge to take place which
is unusual within the PNM," James said.
"The one thing that the PNM needs to do is
open up the party, the PNM needs to be more
transparent," he said.
Looking forward to 2014
Political analysts are eager to see what the coming
year would bring as the there major political parties
hold internal elections. Will Congress of the People s
Prakash Ramadhar retain his leadership of the coali-
tion partner? Or would he pay the ultimate price
for remaining under the UNC-dominated partner-
Within the PNM, Rowley s leadership could be
challenged by Penelope Beckles who had previously
thrown her hat in the ring for leadership. Political
analyst Mukesh Basdeo recalled that there was a
faction within the PNM seeking to oust Rowley in
order to "preserve the balisier."
In a telephone interview, Basdeo said the sub-
sect adhered to the "fundamental philosophy" of
the PNM, and Rowley could pay a political price
if they believe he has strayed.
"We should note that 2014 will also be an election
year. There will be three elections, not on a national
scale, but within the PNM, UNC and COP," Basdeo
He said the parties would all be laying the foun-
dation for the general election in 2015.
"General election is just 15 months away," he
He said while both the PNM, UNC and COP had
internal elections due in 2014, it was the PNM that
may be most highly contested.
"There is the possibility of a challenge for lead-
ership. Dr Rowley was quite successful in St Joseph
and the local government elections and was able
to reverse the loss of 2010," he said.
Basdeo said within the UNC, former leader and
prime minister Basdeo Panday could add to the
dynamics within the party.
"Panday was never done with politics. He was
always behind the scenes and in the background.
He may take an advisory role in the UNC, but it
would be interesting to see if he d provide a slate,"
'PP still in political bubble'
...after four election losses
From Page A6
Continues on Page A13
Dr Winford james
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