Young: Bid to stop PNM election ‘ill-conceived’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Irene Hinds, who is vying for the post of PNM operations officer, signals her confidence at Diego Martin Central Community Centre on Saturday. – SUREASH CHOLAI

Contender for PNM chairman Stuart Young, says he was not surprised about Friday’s Appeal Court decision that dismissed political leader candidate Karen Nunez-Tesheira’s application to stop the party’s internal election.

“I thought that the action was ill-conceived from the beginning in seeking an injunction at this late stage. What Karen (Nunez-Tesheira) was really trying to prevent was the wider membership of the PNM having the opportunity to vote.

“Because to ask everybody to come for one day (of) voting at a convention, in a space that can’t hold the full membership, that’s why we went with the three-day voting process.”

For the first time in the internal election process, the People’s National Movement (PNM) allowed early voting at polling stations in all 41 constituencies on November 26 and 27, and voting on election day at the party’s convention on December 4.

Speaking to Sunday Newsday at the PNM internal elections polling station at Mucurapo Girls’ RC Primary School in St James on Saturday morning, he added that he did not believe the elections caused “significant divisions” in the party. He said after the elections, there would be a transition and the “real” PNM members would work with the party to continue to build it.

Polls opened on Saturday at 8 am at polling stations throughout the country, but, in west Trinidad, heavy rains led to a slow start to the elections.

When Sunday Newsday visited Mucurapo Girls’ between 9 and 10 am, there were very few people at the school and, in fact, Young was only the fifth person to vote.

The Diego Martin Central and Diego Martin South community centres were even less populated with absolutely no voters when Newsday visited.

One poll clerk said very few people had come out to vote but that was expected because of the rain.

Energy Minister Stuart Young, contender for PNM chairman, at Mucurapo Girls’ RC Primary School, St James where he voted on Saturday. – SUREASH CHOLAI

“Look at that rain. People probably still in their bed. I doubt they coming out it this.”

Despite the rain, Energy Minister Young said he did not expect the weather to hamper the voting process. He said one of the benefits of having voting over several days was that, if people could not vote on Saturday, they had the opportunity to do so on Sunday as well as next Sunday.

Asked how he felt about his chances of becoming the next chairman, Young said he was confident because the PNM membership were intelligent.

He added that he had been campaigning for weeks all over the country so people saw the effort and energy he put in. At those meetings, he explained the contribution he had and intended to make to the country, so he was looking forward to the results of the election.

Candidate for operations officer Irene Hinds expressed her desire for the rain to stop for a while to allow as many people as possible could go out and vote, which was the point of having three days of voting.

She voted at the Central Diego Martin Community Centre earlier that day and expressed confidence people would vote this weekend and still attend the convention on December 4.

“I really feel that team Leaders in Service will be successful and I’m sure I’m going to win.”

Also at Mucurapo Girls’ was former government minister Marlene McDonald who arrived at the polling station at 8.10 am to be the third person to vote there.

She said she had experienced many PNM internal elections in the past, and believed the election and campaigning by candidates was a good way to generate interest in the party, as well as to mobilise it.

“What I like is that fact that you are able to have the voting over a period of three days. It’s almost like an outreach.”

Declining to say who she voted for, she said she voted in the best interests of the country and the party.