PNM chairman: No signs of Rowley stepping down as leader

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

PNM leader and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. – File photo

The Prime Minister showed no signs of slowing down or stepping down as political leader of the PNM during the party’s general council meeting on Saturday, as it unveiled plans to engage in a series of internal elections starting with the internal PNM Tobago council elections next month.

Asked if Dr Rowley made any indication ­– as he did after the 2020 general elections – that he may step down, party chairman Colm Imbert said there was none.

“I cannot speak for the political leader and I wouldn’t even try, but he looked very vibrant today,” Imbert said.

After winning the general election in 2020, Rowley alluded that it could very well be his last term in politics.

“I am not one of those politicians who believe that when you come into office you should go out feet first,” he said in 2020. “I have places to go and people to see.”

“But more importantly I have a commitment to ensure that this is a period of transition in the PNM, and as the longest-serving member in the Parliament who will continue to serve as another term I have a duty and a responsibility during this term to fashion the PNM’s future by ensuring that our young people are developed in such a way that when I am no longer in this position to announce an election victory, that the country would not be deprived of the leadership it deserves.”

The internal elections of the PNM is expected to be held before the term of the leadership expires in September this year. Local elections are also due this year, within 90 days of November 2022.

“It is a four-year term and elections will be held this year for positions, not only in the leadership but for other positions in the executive,” Imbert said.

Imbert told reporters that during the meeting the PNM Tobago council forwarded updates on preparations for the internal elections for executive positions expected to be held on April 24. Asked if there were any submissions outside of Ancil Dennis for leadership in those elections, Imbert said that would be up to the Tobagonian executive. Nomination day for the Tobago PNM internal elections is expected to be at the end of this month.

PNM chairman Colm Imbert updates the media after the party’s general council meeting at Cascadia Hotel, St Ann’s on Saturday. – PHOTO BY SUREASH CHOLAI

“There is some time. Nomination day hasn’t come yet. We will know then who is vying for what position.”

Imbert added that the general council was also updated on the progress of the refurbishment of Balisier house and the construction of the new party headquarters. He said while he could not give a date of completion, he said work continues apace despite delays owing to covid19 regulations.

During the meeting the party decided that it will have its usual yearly party activities which includes the annual general meeting with party groups and constituency groups, leading toward a convention.

He said Rowley indicated at the meeting that the convention would be toward the end of the year.

Saturday’s general council meeting was the first physical general meeting held for some time because of health restrictions prohibiting large, and it was the largest the Imbert said has seen – with a total of 131 people in attendance at Cascadia Hotel, St Ann’s.

“I would say that almost the entire general council was there.”

“It was great to be able to interact once again.”