Rowley Hints at Leaving Politics

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By Prior Beharry

PRIME Minister and political leader of the People’s National Movement (PNM) Dr Keith Rowley hints at leaving politics.

He made the comment at the commissioning of the refurbished Balisier House at #1Tranquility Street in Port of Spain on Saturday.

Before a large crowd on Tranquility Street, part of which was blocked off for the celebrations, two deputy political leaders Colm Imbert and Rohan Sinanan spoke about Dr Rowley contesting the next two general elections as leader of the PNM.

But, in his feature address, Dr Rowley said his wife Sharon who accompanied him to the function, had recently retired and he wanted to spend time with his “other family.”

The matter was first brought up by Sinanan who said the PNM was blessed with four excellent leaders so far in its history.

He said what made him join the PNM was its cultural diversity.

Balisier beauties: From left are Minister in the office of the Attorney General Renuka Sagramsingh-Sooklal, Minister of Social Development and Family Services Donna Cox and Minister of Pubic Administration Allyson West

Sinanan said he became a deputy political leader of the PNM in 2011 and was asked why he wanted to be in a party that was in opposition and may never get back in government.

He replied, “It is more prestigious and more valuable to me to be a deputy political leader in the PNM than a minister or a prime minister in any other party in Trinidad and Tobago.”

Sinanan, who is also the Minister of Works and Transport, said Balisier House was not just bricks and mortar but a large part of the history of T&T and signified stability.

Sinanan said, “If you look at the modernisation of T&T and if you look at the development of T&T it all started right here by the PNM.”

He said, “The PNM has been blessed by excellent leaders from Dr (Eric) Williams, Mr (George) Chambers, the honourable Patrick Manning and now Dr Keith Christopher Rowley who will take us all the way to 2030.

“Yes, all the way to 2030 and if he is willing will give him up to (20)35.”

In his speech, Imbert said, “When you add Dr Rowley’s Senate record he has been in Parliament for almost 36 years which makes him the longest sitting member of Parliament at this time.

“And if we are to take deputy political leader Sinanan seriously and he will lead us into the 2030 election, I think I heard that, gone past 2025.

“In my view, he would be the longest-serving member of Parliament ever in Trinidad and Tobago.”

He said Dr Rowley first contested for leadership in 1996 and lost but that did not bother him as he continued to be a loyal and vibrant member of the party and in 2010 became the fourth political leader of PNM.

In his address, Dr Rowley said the refurbished Balisier House was kept in its iconic way but the building had been gutted and modernized.

He said, “We present to you tonight a party headquarters of this venerable political party, a headquarters worthy of the party that says it is 68 years old and we look like we’ve done something with those years.”

Dr Rowley said, “I also want to join by saying this is not done for me. As a matter of fact, you would see the seat next to where I was sitting there was empty, it was because two people spoke up here and I think they have lost a friend because my wife retired at the end of the last year and you could imagine how much pressure I am under to come home and meet my other family.

“So when these fellas get up here and start talking about next election and 2030 and 35, they not speaking for me eh. I spoke for myself already and I spoke in front of a parson and I signed for that.”

His wife, an attorney, was a partner at the law firm Martin Daly and Company.

Religious leaders blessed the refurbished building and the PNM executive planted balisiers, the symbol of the PNM, on the premises. Balisier House will be open on Monday.

Another structure where the car park is being built, Dr Rowley said very soon cars will be put up in a raffle to raise money for the new structure.


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