Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 8th 2014 Contents A9
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Don t be hoodwinked by the
Government s attempt to lessen
the severity of the increased
crime rate when it blames gangs,
says Opposition Leader Dr Keith
Speaking at a meeting on Mon-
day night at City Hall, Port-of-
Spain, to promote himself as the
leader of the People s National
Movement (PNM) for the party s
upcoming internal election, Row-
ley said if changes were not made
at the highest level, the country
would not be able to evade the
difficulties which lay ahead.
He said the Government and
its agencies were trying to con-
vince citizens everything was fine,
yet up to the sixth day of 2014,
there had already been 16 mur-
"What you expect them to
say?" he asked rhetorically.
"I can t recall any time in this
country a bloodbath taking place
like this week," he added.
He conceded the PNM lost the
general election in 2010 "badly,"
attributing it to spiralling crime.
"The main issue was the PNM s
failure to reduce the violent
crime," he said.
However, Rowley commented
on the crime rate and the inef-
fectual measures by the present
Government, saying the only way
to address the issue was to change
He said as murders piled up for
2014, there was silence from
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar and an attempt to blame
gangs for the spike in killings.
"We are having a disaggregation
of murders. Today we are being
told citizens, don t worry, it is
gang people killing one another.
That is not real murder. "
He said it was an attempt to
change the number of murders
into one that would be more
acceptable if the public considered
it gang warfare.
"So we are now disaggregating
the problem into acceptable parts
and unacceptable parts. We call
that failure," he added.
He told the crowd they were
"virtually voting to save your life."
Rowley addressed the state of
social services and PNM s policy
when it was in government.
"There will be radical reform
of the social support services," he
said, which pleased the audience,
who applauded in support.
He said his government intend-
ed to ensure the resources meant
for social support reached the
"It will eliminate waste and
corruption," he added.
Rowley also commented on the
oil spill in southwestern Trinidad,
describing it as an ecological cri-
sis.He dismissed Petrotrin s $8 mil-
lion estimate for damage because
the company had not really started
to check the cost as yet.
"People s lives are being
destroyed... and they are telling
lies... every day is a different lie
that we are supposed to accept."
Rowley said the change for the
country had to come from the
Crime will topple
Govt, says Rowley
Supporters from the Port-of-Spain South con-
stituency came out in their numbers on Monday
night to show their support for People s National
Movement (PNM) leader Dr Keith Rowley and their
vehement rejection of any would-be challenger to
his leadership, as campaigning began for the party s
What was intended to be a question-and-answer
session turned out to be more of a rally, as attendees,
who showed up in busloads, used the open forum at
City Hall, Port-of-Spain, not to raise issues but to
cheer for Rowley and rebuke other potential candidates
attempting to take his position as party leader.
Rowley called out his "detractors," saying their
intention to portray the party as having internal prob-
lems was misleading.
"It s not internal problems, it s freedom. Freedom
to speak, freedom to disagree," he said.
He said it was no secret that he was previously
engaged in personal battles with party members but
said that would not be the case in the future.
"You are being called upon to come out and vote.
Stand up and be counted. The choice is yours, the
responsibility is yours," he said.
This is the first time the one-man-one-vote process
will be in place for PNM s internal election. Previously,
the party used a delegate system, consisting of 800
MP for Port-of-Spain South Marlene McDonald
in her address also dismissed detractors, calling them
Senator Camille Robinson-Regis chaired the meeting
and took a jab at the new opposing group, To Preserve
the Balisier, saying 2013 exemplified the preservation
of the balisier under Rowley s leadership.
"So those who are talking about preserving and
protecting the balisier. Under Keith Christopher Rowley,
the balisier has been preserved, it has been protected,
it has grown, it has bloomed and it will continue to
PNM supporters and party members, young and
old, packed the hall from 7 pm to 10.30 pm, some
sporting jerseys which read "Showtime, Dr Rowley
Rowley said he planned to visit the 40 other con-
stituencies across the country in the lead-up to the
internal elections, a date for which is yet to be
Flashback: In October 1996, Keith Rowley chal-
lenged then PNM political leader Patrick Manning
for the leadership post in the party s internal elections.
He lost the internal election, and only gained the
position after Manning resigned when PNM lost the
2010 general election by 29/12 to the People s Part-
nership, a coalition of political parties.
On the left, Christopher, Mark and Gerard Garcia, the three sons of Thorton
Marcus Garcia, (inset) the T&T Guardian's former circulation manager and
trustee of the Guardian's Neediest Cases Fund, escort their father's casket out
of the St Theresa's Church, Woodbrook, yesterday. Garcia, 83, who worked
with the T&T Guardian for 33 years, died on December 30 at the Port-of-Spain
General Hospital. On the right, are Joey Correia, Ricardo Garcia and Roland
Moze. PHOTO: MARYANN AUGUSTE
Supporters reject leadership challenge
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