PM: Place in PNM for UNC MP Rambally

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley – File photo by Roger Jacob

THE Prime Minister has said there is a place in the PNM for Chaguanas West MP Dinesh Rambally.

Dr Rowley made this comment to Rambally in the House of Representatives on April 19.

Rambally asked Rowley when he planned to remove Laventille West MP Fitzgerald Hinds as national security minister because of Hinds’ poor performance in dealing with crime.

“Prime Minister, will you be removing the Minister of National Security anytime soon?”

Rowley replied, “There is always a place for you (in the PNM), but there is no vacancy here (in national security).”

Before Rowley made this statement to Rambally, PNM MPs thumped their desks as Rambally stood up to ask Rowley a question.

Rambally seemed amused by the response he was receiving from government MPs, while his opposition colleagues showed no interest.

As Rambally stood up, Couva North MP Ravi Ratiram had entered the Parliament chamber and was about to take his seat next to him.

Rambally said he hoped government MPs knew they were applauding “the arrival of the MP for Couva North.”

At a news conference in Chaguanas on April 12, Rambally condemned UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar as a failed leader. He said the party could not win next year’s general election with her at the helm.

Hours later, Persad-Bissessar condemned Rambally in a statement, saying, “There is no room for intolerance and extremism of any type in the UNC and our country.

“As leader, I represent all people equally and fairly. I cannot and will not be controlled by any individual or group to promote any singular agenda at the expense of other sections of society.”

She added, “These public rants by a few only help this oppressive government.”

Rambally has joined fellow UNC MPs Rushton Paray, Anita Haynes-Alleyne, Dr Rai Ragbir and Rodney Charles in demanding that the party’s internal elections take place when they are constitutionally due.

Paray made the first public call for internal elections at a news conference in Couva on March 22.

Persad-Bissessar branded him a “PNM infiltrator” and threatened to expel him from the UNC.

Paray said he was not afraid of Persad-Bissessar’s threats. Under the UNC’s constitution, the political leader does not have sole authority to expel any party member.

At the start of the proceedings on April 19, Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George approved a request from Paray to be excused from the sitting.

Paray and the other MPs who agree with his views have been meeting with UNC members to understand the state of affairs within the party.

Earlier this month, the UNC closed the window for members to submit nomination packages for next year’s general election. The party is scheduled to begin screening nominees in May.

Persad-Bissessar has publicly promised internal elections will be held in accordance with the UNC’s constitution.