Saturday, December 14, 2013

PNM to discss Penny's curry-duck lime, rules for leadership election

The People's National Movement (PNM) has toned down its vitriol against its lady vice chair, Pennelope Beckles-Robinson, for attending a United National Congress (UNC) sponsored curry-duck lime in Debe.

Her attendance became a major talking point in the national media and PNM General Secretary Ashton Forde was suggesting that the party would not tolerate such behaviour from a high profile member of the party.

For her part Beckles-Robinson read nothing sinister in what she did and explained that she was just liming with friends. What seemed important for the PNM was that the lime was a UNC event and Beckles-Robinson was hanging out with Dr Roodal Moonilal, a UNC deputy leader, and other PP personnel including AG Ramlogan, just days after the PNM political leader fired her from the Senate.

The message was that she might have been seeking shelter in another political home, a suggestion which she dismissed, stating that she remains PNM.

Ford was also upset that Beckles-Robinson blanked a PNM youth league function attended by all the top brass of the party including the leader and chairman, in favour of the UNC lime.

There was talk about strong action at the party's general council meeting scheduled to take place Saturday (today). Now Ford is saying if there is a complaint about Beckles-Robinson it will have to be discussed before the party takes any decision for disciplinary action or other sanctions.

There is a view that PNM Leader Keith Rowley removed Beckles Robionson from the Senate because she plans to challenge him next year for the leadership of the party. The party's official explanation for the change is that it needs to rotate members of the senate to 'train' others for leadership in the party. 
The party will discuss rules for its leadership election, which is due next year. For the first time the party would be electing its leader in a one-member, one-vote system that the UNC and Congress of the People (COP) have used in their elections. The party expects the election would held in the first half the new year.

Ford has suggested that Beckles-Robinson is fickle and might be considering linkages to other parties. He told the media, "Attending an event like that, people don’t know where you stand. Ms Beckles hasn’t denied she may be contesting the leadership and she hasn’t denied Jack Warner’s statement that he couldn’t say ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ whether she was to be ILP’s St Joseph by-election candidate.”

The issue within the PNM on this matter is whether the lady has broken any party rules. Ford told local media the PNM’s constitution states that a member faces automatic expulsion if the person appears on another party’s platform or brings the party into disrepute. 

The curry-duck lime was not a political platform but there is a question about whether her attendance at the event might have brought the party into disrepute. 

A group called "To Preserve the Balisier Group" intends to mount a challenge to Rowley’s leadership. It's leader is Dr Bose Sharma, a former PNM candidate, who is supportive of Beckles-Robinson. 

Sharma told local media, "If you can’t fraternise casually with people, what is politics and rights of democracy coming to in T&T? Dr Rowley can go to South Africa with the Prime Minister and be pictured with her at various events, smiling, yet Mrs Beckles can’t attend a social event?”

Ford has made a clear distinction between the event with Beckles-Robinson and the Nelson Mandela memorial attended by Rowley and PNM PRO Faris Al Rawi on the invitation of the Prime Minister, noting that the leader of the opposition was acting on state business as he is expected to do.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai