|Penny meets supporters in Tobago (Newsday photo)|
Beckles-Robinson is the only challenger to incumbent Keith Rowley. Speaking in the San Fernando East community she advised supporters to stand their ground and not be afraid. And she had a question for the other side: "why can’t we just have a simple, clean election?”
She also raised the issue of whether her party is ready for this election on May 18 noting that she is hearing too many complaints that long standing members cannot find their names on the membership list. The party has determined that every member of the PNM is entitled to vote, even if they are not financial members.
Beckles-Robinson charged that 90 per cent of the membership from a party group in San Fernando East constituency party group cannot find their names on the list.
“Why in March, people are going to Balisier House and are finding that their names are not on the list,” she asked.
On Friday Beckles-Robinson was in Tobago. During a walkabout at the Milford Road Esplanade in lower Scarborough she said the leadership challenge is a healthy development for the party.
“I mean, some people have been arguing about timing, some people feel that ideally you shouldn’t have any challenges. But the truth is that this is the first time in the 58-year history of the party that you have moved from the delegate system to one man one vote," she said.
“Elections were called earlier than it should have been called to allow the democratic process to take place where the membership of the party will be involved in deciding who they want to be the leader in the 2015 period.”
Some critics in Tobago have suggested that she is trying to ride on the PNM's success in the Tobago election but she brushed that aside. "I think those statements are very unfortunate. I have been in the PNM now for 24 years. Dr Rowley ran and challenged the political leader some 18 years ago and I supported him at the time," she said.