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Commentary: Disgraced PNM endorsers

Commentary by Capil Bissoon

Capil Bissoon
Capil Bissoon

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – With no credible plan to convince the people to vote for them, the PNM faithful gathered in Woodford Square last Saturday to hear from two disgraced and discarded American politicians, former N.Y. Governor David Patterson and former Congressman Edolphus Towns.

The Sunday Express headlines says it all, “Foreign attack on Kamla – Blind ex-New York governor tainted by scandal speaks at PNM rally”.

It was clear that Patterson had no clue about what he talked about and his script was written by the PNM handlers.

Perhaps what was worse than this insult to the intelligence of the people of Trinidad and Tobago was both Patterson and Towns are no symbols of virtue or integrity. The former unelected governor’s record is easy to find on the internet and the picture is not flattering. He certainly is not a model for our people.

Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington named Towns as a Dishonorable Mention in its Most Corrupt Members of Congress report, an annual, bipartisan look at Washington’s worst.

Is this how the PNM perceive own sovereignty?

UNC’s DPL Dr. Roodal Moonilal summed it up well, “Two persons from the US journeyed to Port of Spain to endorse Rowley, but both individuals had allegations of corruption hanging over them. If these are the people who are here to endorse Rowley, then he is in good company.”

Was Dr. Rowley and the PNM unable to find a single citizen to mount that stage and endorse Dr. Rowley? Why did the PNM feel that bringing in two disgraced former US politicians would raise Rowley’s stock? Is it that the Rowley PNM are still living in the shadow of colonialism where they feel that anything foreign is better than what we have at home?

This would have been an ideal opportunity for Dr. Rowley to mend fences in his own divided party and have Patrick Manning stand up and endorse him as the most suitable man to lead the PNM and T&T. But that did not happen and it won’t because neither Manning nor the many Rowley-created PNM pariahs accept Rowley as being fit for the office he now holds and the one to which he aspires.

The people of T&T have been looking to Dr. Rowley for five years for leadership and a vision to move the country forward. With just days before a general election, they are still waiting and there is nothing original in the little Rowley has offered.

We have been promised a manifesto for over 275 days from the PNM but all we keep hearing is more of the same, more railing against his political opponents and talking about the past rather than setting out a plan to improve the lives of people in our country.

The UNC/PP’s has been steadfast in this campaign that Dr. Rowley has no real plan for the future and no idea how to take this country forward.

Really, what has Dr. Rowley and the PNM offered so far, except the same PNM’s outdated strategy of divide and rule, self-interest before country’s and their entrenched belief that “T&T is PNM country”.

Why did Dr. Rowley not seize the opportunity to knock down such criticism with valid rebuttals that would convince the undecided or floating voter to join his mission. Instead, he chose to ignore his own people, continue to banish the likes of Amery Brown, Penny Beckles and others and import two disgraced foreigners to say T&T is worse off today than when the PP took office when any objective observer would challenge that assumption with verifiable data to contradict that.

We have seen PNM’s manifestos election after election since 1956 and we know their record; there is a similar pattern… broken promises.

The PNM seems to have a fixation on one project, the rapid-rail. Last week Colm Imbert said a rapid-rail from Diego Martin to Sangre Grande will cost $10Billion, just as much as the highway to Point Fortin. Imbert said the PP has claimed the project will cost $60Billion in an attempt to “frighten citizens”.

Was Imbert implying that the PP was not supporting this project “north of the Caroni” but was ensuring south Trinidad was being looked after?

Imbert was being very disingenuous by not saying that it was US and not TT currency he was quoting.

My understanding is that the pre-feasibility study gave a figure of US$7.5Billion exclusive of acquisition of properties etc and the PNM’s specialty… cost overruns and delays.

The PNM had promised a highway to Point Fortin since the days of Williams but it is the PP government that has been building it.

Rowley’s PNM failed at their big coming out show to capture the imagination of voters outside the PNM.



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