Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 13th 2014 Contents YVONNE WEBB
"Give Miss Penny a chance," was the
resounding call of constituents of Mayaro
on Tuesday night as former senator Pen-
nelope Beckles-Robinson kicked off her
campaign to dethrone Dr Keith Rowley as
leader of the People s National Movement
in the May 18 internal election.
Beckles-Robinson flexed her political mus-
cles, promising the constituents the gov-
ernment in exchange for their vote as the
next leader of the party to which they all
She told supporters, who endorsed her,
she not only would be the next leader of the
PNM but the Prime Minister of T&T as well
with their support.
Flanked by Dr Bhose Sharma, of the Pre-
serve the Balisier Movement; vice-chairman
of the Mayaro constituency, Clifford Camp-
bell, and second vice-chairman of the PNM
Women s League, Marva Bostic, Beckles-
Robinson said she was capable, competent
and more than able to lead the party into
government in 2015.
The former Arima MP challenged her crit-
ics who accused her of being "too soft," not
to mistake her "quietness" and "gentleness"
"Some believe Penny soft, well let them
wait and we will find out who soft and who
ain t soft," she added.
She rejected the analogy that because the
current Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bisses-
sar was a woman, the PNM should not also
elect a woman to lead.
Paying tribute to the women who she
credited with being the backbone of the
PNM, Beckles-Robinson said:
"The issue of gender will come up all the
time and there are people who are saying
that you have Kamla who is a woman and
you cannot have a next woman.
"Kamla is Kamla and Penny is Penny, let
us make that very, very clear as we move
She told the packed conference room at
the Radix Hotel her decision to throw her
hat into the leadership race had to do with
the resounding call of members for her to
"One of the main reasons I have offered
myself to run for the leadership of the PNM
is because the call has been so resounding
for me to serve as the leader of the PNM."
She said when she joined the party in
1990, she was very clear in her mind the
party was a democratic one. She said democ-
racy reigned in 1996 when Rowley challenged
the leadership of Patrick Manning.
"I always understood and always believe
that the democracy still remains in the PNM,"
Beckles-Robinson also responded to ana-
lysts who have questioned the timing of her
"Some say this is the wrong time. What
is a good time?" she asked.
She said over the past 23 years she has
served at various levels in Local Government,
the Parliament and Senate and her loyalty
yand competence were never questioned.
"The simple truth is that the minute I
indicated I would consider running for the
post of political leader, if the support is there,
all hell seem to have broken loose.
"The fact is, I was good enough all the
time, until I made that statement. Having
made that statement, you are hearing all
kinds of things about Penny.
"All of a sudden, you not PNM, you eh
work hard, all sorts of things," she said.
She defended her loyalty to the party, say-
ing when in 1998 she was rejected by former
Prime Minister Patrick Manning to run for
the Arima seat and again in 2013 when Row-
ley removed her from the Senate, she did
not leave the party or condemned either
She added: "The truth is, you don t have
any God-given right to any constituency.
You don t have any God-given right to a
ministry. You don t have a God-given right
to be an MP, councillor, senator.
"I remained loyal to the PNM and those
who question my loyalty need to look at my
During an open forum, supporters said
they were fed up of being used and discarded
after PNM MPs were elected.
PNM youth officer (male) Nileung Hypolite
will be offering himself for the post again in
upcoming party elections and is on the slate of
incumbent leader Keith Rowley.
Hypolite was among those at Rowley s Couva
campaign meeting on Tuesday when other current
executive members, including Foster Cummings
and Indar Parasram, were endorsed to defend their
posts in the PNM s May 18 internal election.
Hypolite, MP for Laventille West, also spoke to
the T&T Guardian on Monday, commenting on
Pennelope Beckles-Robinson s move to contest the
PNM s leadership poll.
"It s a healthy move. It shows the PNM is a
democratic party and anybody can feel free to
throw their hat into the ring for leadership.
"It s a one-man-one-vote and no party unit can
dictate who to support. People have to properly
assess and choose the best to represent and lead
PNM at this point."
Asked if he would be on a slate, Hypolite said
at present he was PNM youth officer (male) and
would be offering himself for the post again "unless
someone calls and asks me to do differently, but
I don t think one should be on a particular slate.
"Why can t five or six people offer themselves
for a post rather than two people going up for one
slate or another?"
Hypolite added: "I believe whoever becomes
leader on May 18 will be T&T s next Prime Minister.
"Therefore we need to examine people, and if
not now, when? Dr Rowley championed the one-
man-one-vote system and indicated anyone who
wants to challenge him can come forward, so no
one should be afraid."
PNM MP Dr Amery Browne has said he has not
joined any slate nor decided on contesting any
PNM executive post at this time.
Browne denied a Sunday Guardian report on
that, adding of the leadership election: "This is
the first contested internal election for political
leader that the PNM has had for almost two
decades. It s a good sign the democratic process
is being encouraged and facilitated at this time.
"I hope the party would emerge stronger as we
approach 2015 but that would depend in part on
how the various internal campaigns are conduct-
Some PNM MPs, including Colm Imbert and
Paula Gopee-Scoon, declined comment on Beck-
les-Robinson s move. Others didn t answer phone
Indications from San Fernando East were that
MP Patrick Manning was not commenting or taking
Several PNM officials signalled that after the
March 14 nomination date they might speak.
6.1000 6.2608 6.4486
5.4422 5.7286 6.0437
9.8335 10.3510 10.9099
8.1198 8.5472 9.0173
****** 0.0612 0.0649
2.1109 2.2945 2.4551
* 2.5670 ****** 3.2700
for FEBRUARY 12th 2014
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, February 13, 2014
'Miss Penny' flexes
muscles in Mayaro
Renee McClashie Mayers hugs Pennelope Beckles-Robinson, during a cottage meeting at
Radix Hotel, Mayaro, on Tuesday night. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
Links Archive February 12th 2014 February 14th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page