Dr Keith Rowley, the PNM leader, has demanded the Prime Minister calls elections right away. But, has he given the true reason why? He advanced it’s because a proper response to the drop in oil and gas prices can only be organized AFTER mid-2015. In reality, he craves a faceoff now, hoping to capitalize on the bountiful harvest Trinidad and Tobago shall reap because of the seeds planted by the Kamla administration since May 2010, in the formerly barren energy sector.
Try as he might, Rowley cannot distance himself or the party he leads from the wilful neglect of hydrocarbon exploration activities witnessed under the former government. Economists on all sides were aghast when, for more than three years —-2007-2010—- Rowley and his former boss did nothing to attract local or foreign investors into the offshore drilling business. The oversight led to a big-time drop in T&T’s oil and gas output. It was Energy Minister, Kelvin Ramnarine, who righted the ship, by arranging the offshore leases.
Granted, he and Manning had a major cussout, following which he was fired from Cabinet. But, instead of chucking it in to salvage his integrity, he let it all slide by holding on to his PNM parliamentary seat, and remaining in the PNM General Council. When questioned about being two-faced, he had the temerity to reply he was a true PNM sailor and will never rise up against the captain. (He neglected to state he had tried before. So, it’s quite possible he was distracted at the time, licking his wounds.)
The Kamla government has already advised a bill is coming to establish fixed dates for elections. Once law, all the guesswork and ramajaying about when to vote will be over and done with for good.
If Rowley wishes to hold elections before they constitutionally due, all he has to do is convince the majority of MPs and Senators while the Bill is being debated to give the Opposition Leader the power to dissolve Parliament.
But, he must realize, under those novel arrangements, if people ever put God out their thoughts and make him Prime Minister, he’d be heading back to the polls long before he’s finished taking the oath, since nobody suffers a hotheaded leader for long. Is he willing to take up the challenge?
Richard Wm Thomas,