THE precious few six seats in the Senate allocated to the Opposition can serve as a nursery to groom potential future MPs and Ministers, and also lets the PNM’s leadership set a tone in the next 18 months lead-up to the next general election. Opposition Leader, Dr Keith Rowley’s, choice of a new trio has caused almost as much as a stir among the public as his removal of two outgoing senators, after the shift of former senator Terrence Deyalsingh to become St Joseph MP.
In comes radio/tv announcer, Diane Baldeo-Chadeesingh; defeated PNM Chaguanas West candidate, farmer Avinash Singh; and former planning minister and former Arouca South MP, Camille Robinson-Regis.
Out go Senators Fitzgerald Hinds (former MP for Laventille East/Morvant) and Pennelope-Beckles-Robinson (former Arima MP).
In the clearest display of the old adage, “politics makes strange bed-mates”, Rowley has removed Hinds and Beckles-Robinson (both attorneys), who had both been seen — rightly or wrongly — as Rowley allies during his darkest days of isolation under the former Patrick Manning administration — while ironically Rowley has now elevated Robinson-Regis who had always been seen as a Manning loyalist.
Speculation is that Attorney General Anand Ramlogan’s revelation of Hinds’ upscale mansion, allegedly valued at $15 million, has damaged his carefully cultivated “grassroots” image, even as he had initially refused to defend his home- ownership when questioned by Newsday, instead saying the nation had more important concerns such as crime and economic woes.
Alternatively, it may be that while Hinds was experienced in the cut and thrust of parliamentary debate having served in both Houses, his combativeness is not seen as adding anything to the party by way of appeal to a party which already has the grassroots vote in the bag, but must now seek to appeal to other demographic groups. ..READ MORE