Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 10th 2014 Contents A5
Monday, February 10, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Long-standing member of the Peo-
ple s National Movement (PNM), Louis
Lee Sing says an apology must be
forthcoming from the leadership for
trying to invoke race in the party s
internal election campaign.
This followed a statement by PNM
member Fitzgerald Hinds that busi-
nessmen and former PNM ministers
at a recent meeting agreed that while
party leader Dr Keith Rowley was doing
a good job in the party, he was too dark
in complexion to become prime min-
Hinds made the statement in the
presence of Rowley at the party s Port-
of-Spain North/St Ann s West con-
stituency meeting last week at Belmont
Secondary School. Rowley, who spoke
after Hinds, made no reference to the
But Lee Sing responded in a brief
interview with the T&T Guardian yes-
terday, saying he was not calling for
anyone to apologise.
"Everyone who is involved are adults
as and if you are sober, level-headed
and educated as you claim, you will
know when you have committed a
wrong, and when you commit a wrong
you must always get on bended knees
and apologise," he added.
Insisting that while the leaders should
know what they have done, Lee Sing
said in the same sentence "well maybe
they don t know what they were doing,
that is possible."
He said in a democratic state, if
someone was flawed in judgment he
should resign but that does not happen
in this country.
The former mayor said the "wild,
irrational and destructive statements,
we are doing no good for the party."
According to Lee Sing: "These state-
ments weren t made in a vacuum, they
would have been well thought out and
it was intended to garner certain
"Unfortunately, I believe little focus
was given on the repercussions of the
Rowley s skin colour, Lee Sing said,
was not an issue in any election to elect
a national leader.
national anthem, no one should hold
Dr Rowley s blackness against him," he
The issue was not to be debated in
the campaign, Lee Sing said.
He said the statement was made as
part of a campaign to invoke "the racial
bogey in the expectation that it will
garner increased support for Dr Rowley.
That is most unfortunate."
But Lee Sing issued a call for the
leaders to stop the race campaign,
insisting that super PNM delegates,
including himself "will not tolerate any
He recalled that the last time he gave
Rowley the benefit of his support, he
was accused of leaking information to
the media and efforts were made to
have him removed as mayor of Port-
That was in reference to a letter he
wrote to Rowley in 2012, criticising him
about the timing of a no confidence
motion he unsuccessfully brought
against Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Lee Sing said he had taken a decision
to ensure the founding principles of
the party "remain whole and are not
watered down, dismantled and tram-
pled upon by people in their desire to
secure leadership positions within the
He said he was aware that whoever
wins the May 18 PNM leadership elec-
tion could become prime minister in
Louis tells PNM leadership...
Chairperson of the women s
league of the People s National
Movement (PNM) Pennelope Beck-
les-Robinson says leadership the
major issue affecting the country.
In a statement issued on Saturday,
the former senator said she hoped
the 58-year-old party s first executive
elections under the system of one-
man-one-vote will be "fair, open and
Beckles-Robinson, is expected to
hold a news conference at Balisier
House today to answer questions on
her challenge against incumbent
leader Dr Keith Rowley in the May
18 national executive elections.
Beckles-Robinson has applied to
the party to host a news conference
at the party s headquarters and
sources said yesterday if permission
was not granted the news conference
would most likely be held in the
Opposition s parliamentary room,
Tower D, Wrightson Road, Port-of-
Spain at 4.30 pm tomorrow.
On Friday, Beckles-Robinson told
Rowley of her intention to contest
the election. She said on Saturday
the party s competitive internal elec-
tions reflect the strength of leadership
choices at all levels within the party.
According to Beckles-Robinson,
the PNM s political experience offers
much to the country. But she insist-
ed: "The fundamental issue that con-
fronts our nation is that of leader-
She said: "The people deserve
decisive, compassionate, inclusive
and pragmatic leadership."
Beckles-Robinson is a former
Arima MP, senator and cabinet min-
Penny focuses on good leadership
Opposition MP Dr Amery
Browne is calling for discern-
ment, wisdom and respect from
all sides contesting the People s
National Movement (PNM)
national executive elections.
He was asked to comment on
a statement by former Opposition
senator Fitzgerald Hinds, who told
a constituency meeting in Belmont
last week that a group of busi-
nessmen and former PNM min-
isters have agreed that Opposition
Leader Dr Keith Rowley was "too
dark in complexion to become
"With the anxieties and emo-
tions of internal elections, we can
expect persons to say any manner
of things convenient to their cause,"
He then issued a call for wisdom
and good judgment by all oppo-
sition PNM teams to ensure the
58-year-old party emerges stronger
in the end.
Browne, who is MP for Diego
Martin Central, said he had not
made any decision to contest or
not contest the elections.
And former head of the public
service Reginald Dumas said he
was concerned about the impli-
cations of "the too dark to become
prime minister claim."
Dumas told the T&T Guardian
yesterday the statement confirms
that race remains an issue in the
"T&T is still a colonial society
dominated by issues of skin colour
and texture of hair," Dumas, a for-
mer T&T diplomat added.
Saying he was not too concerned
about whether Hinds was right or
wrong to have made the comment,
Dumas said what was more impor-
tant was the fact that the comment
was made in 2014.
Insisting that the PNM has tra-
ditionally been a "black party,"
Dumas said the statement was
"even more frightening" as it
would mean that members of the
PNM had a problem with black-
Dumas, who served as High
Commissioner to India, said he
will never forget a statement told
to him by "a very prominent Indi-
an, Hindu gentleman when he was
appointed in 1977 by then prime
minister Eric Williams.
Dumas said he was told then:
"Your appointment is a slap in the
face of the Indians."
Dumas said serving the country
in India was one of his best jobs.
Browne calls for wisdom
FETEING WITH BLAXX
Blaxx performs during St Mary's College Past Students' Union Fete with the Saints all-inclusive at St
Mary's College Courtyard, Pembroke Street, Port-of-Spain, on Saturday. PHOTO: ANDRE ALEXANDER
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