Rowley: Vote PNM For LG Reform

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

A VOTE for the People’s National Movement (PNM) in the August 14 Local Government Elections (LGE) is a vote for local government reform.

Prime Minister and political leader of the PNM Dr Keith Rowley appealed to citizens that if they have never voted before for his party, August 14, was the day to put their ‘X” by the symbol of the Balisier.

Speaking to hundreds on Sunday evening, as the party presented their 141 candidates at the National Academy for Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port of Spain, he appealed to the electorate to treat the upcoming election with special importance.

Dr Rowley told supporters, “I want to invite you all today if you are responsible citizens to treat this local government election as a different one because something big is on the table.

“For those persons who normally don’t come out for local government election, come out and take a stand on local government reform. Come out on August 14, go to the normal polling station where you normally vote and in everyone of those polling stations is a well selected, qualified PNM candidate and put your X by the Balisier.

“If you have never voted for the PNM before for all kinds of good reasons according to yourself, on this occasion let’s find common ground, hold our hands together and change local government in Trinidad.”

Decked out in red, the PNM  presented its candidates exactly 50 days before the election declaring they are “red and ready” for the big day under the theme “Reform the Right Choice.”

Armed with several documents worked on by PNM administrations past and present, Dr Rowley said the essence of local government reform was to have corporations releasing their reliance on Central Government for funding and resources.

The political leader said, “If you elect the PNM, this work… these roots, this tree will bear fruit and we will do so with the confidence that we arrive at our position going forward because of the rectitude of the cause because of the good sense that went into it. We are not operating by guess.”

Dr Rowley also said if citizens did not support the PNM, they were supporting the Opposition which equaled chaos.

Under the present situation, local government councillors were highly underpaid, work part-time doing full time jobs, have electoral authority but no executive authority and await sporadic finances from Central government whose revenue was also sporadic, he listed out.

A cross-section of the crowd at NAPA on Sunday when Dr Keith Rowley arrives. Photo: Facebook/PNM

One of the main issues arising out of local government reform was for corporations to have its own revenue stream and be in control of its allocations.

“What we are asking you in local government is to take responsibility for your local district,” Dr Rowley said.

He reminded supporters that when major decisions were being made by the PNM in Trinidad and Tobago’s early days as an independent nation, there was also Opposition, yet still decades later, citizens benefitted from those decisions with the incorporation of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) as an example.

“Whatever is going on in the present now, those benefit from it will say leave it so… When you are doing good things for this country, don’t expect everybody to agree,” Dr Rowley said.

On Monday, the United National Congress (UNC) will present their candidates at Naparima College in San Fernando.

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Dr Rowley said, “Tomorrow is nomination day and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 

About the Opposition he said, they continue to deceive citizens by forming coalitions but there will be no positive change if they won the local government election.

Dr Rowley said, “They will carry on the same way if they are elected.”

The event was filled with pomp and ceremony with government ministers taking on different roles in announcing candidates and guest musical performances.

PNM members Laurel Lezama Lee Sing and Faris Al-Rawi provided additional commentary during the launch.


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