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Top PNMites dismiss ‘secret slate’ report
If the People’s National Movement (PNM) hopes to return to power in 2015, the party must maintain peace and cohesiveness. That’s the view of Franklin Khan, who’s vying for chairmanship of the 55-year-old political party. Khan’s statement comes on the heels of a report in a daily newspaper that some members of the PNM have been holding secret meetings with the intention of forming a slate to contest the party’s internal elections on March 20.
The report said the objective of the meetings was to ensure that the new executive was not comprised solely of loyalists to political leader, Dr Keith Rowley. In an interview, yesterday, however, Khan dismissed the report, stating that he was unaware of any secret meetings held by PNM members. Khan said despite “many challenges” now facing the party, the PNM remained a strong unit and should not be forced to “become like the United National Congress.”
“The election is a democratic election. I can tell you that I am not part of any slate. I do not know why they termed it secret because as far as I know, the political leader is slate neutral in this election,” he said.
“People will interpret things as they see it. We have to be very careful...An internal party election should not be held with acrimony or bitterness like what occurred in the UNC. “I want us to stay PNM, stay strong.”
Khan, who started his political career with the PNM in 2000, said he decided to vie for the position of chairman, as he brought “great value” to the party. “I am now trying to revive my political career and I think I will bring a lot to the table,” he said. “I’m calling on members to understand that we need each other. We need cohesiveness if we are to get back into power in 2015.”
Browne: Government guilty of "tricks of distraction"
Meanwhile, Diego Martin Central MP, Dr Amery Browne, also denied reports of the secret meetings, saying that the allegations were concocted by the Government to hide its own shortcomings, as it remained incapable of effectively governing the country. He said: “Each time the UNC-dominated coalition plunges further into chaos and disgrace, there are attempts to trigger a sense of intrigue about the Opposition. I am assured that the PNM will conduct its internal elections in decency and order, as opposed to the UNC internal struggles last year which entailed even physical scuffles at Rienzi Complex that affected children and media personnel.” Browne said he was calling on Government to get its act together, as the population was fully aware of “their tricks of distraction and blame-shifting.” He added; “This UNC-dominated coalition has shocked the nation by swiftly abandoning the mandate they received on May 24. Their infighting, incompetence, and ongoing collapse will not be tempered by any attempts to divert attention away from their non-performance.”
Party faithful respond:
Gopee-Scoon: I'm staying out
“I understand that there have been meetings but I have not been invited to any. The decision as to the candidacy and elections are matters for the constituency and there are systems in place to deal with those things. If meetings are being held it is a democratic process, I have no problem with that at all. It is a democratic country. It is democracy at its finest. But personally, I'm staying out.”
PNM General Secretary, Ashton Ford: I'm not part of it.
“I understand that there had been meetings but I'm not part of it. I will not indulge in any attempt to undermine the present leadership of the party. I have never done it in the past and I will never do it now, or in the future. I hope that the serious party members rally together at the convention with the view of taking our rightful place as the government of T&T.” Calls to PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley's cellular phone yesterday went unanswered.
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