By Peter Richards
PORT OF SPAIN (CMC) – Leader of the People’s National Movement (PNM), Keith Rowley, says he intends to be a prime minister for the entire country as his party won the general election here on Monday.
“I will make every effort to rekindle the feeling of nationalism in Trinidad and Tobago … all of us should be proud that we are citizens of Trinidad and Tobago,” Rowley told jubilant supporters as the party carved out a 23-18 victory in the poll.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar conceded defeat, saying that her coalition People’s Partnership had fought a “good fight.
“We must respect the wishes of the people of Trinidad and Tobago, they have chosen and I respect their wishes.
“Of course we would be disappointed with the results but we must respect the democratic process and I wish everyone in our country the best wishes I can give for a better tomorrow and a better future.”
She said that the coalition, comprising the United National Congress (UNC), the Congress of the People (COP), the Tobago Organization of the People (TOP) and the National Joint Action Movement (NJAC), had done much during its five-year term in office.
“We will have a very strong membership in the House and we will continue to work for you and to serve you. I thank you very much and I ask you to respect the wishes of the people, the majority of the people in Trinidad and Tobago,” she said, adding that the coalition had won the popular vote.
“At the end of the day the way our system is framed it is the majority of seats that affords you the opportunity to form the government. So I wish the new government well and I also tell you that I will not stop serving you, I will continue to work with you,” she added.
Rowley told supporters that “as prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago … I will not be the prime minister of the PNM, I am the prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago”.
He described the victory as a “humble experience” to lead the party into “what has been one of the most gruelling elections in the history of our country and coming out of it victorious tonight.
“I am humbled, I am very grateful,” he said, noting that the party had not lost faith “when things were not looking too bright.
“I think this election in our 60th year demonstrates that the PNM can keep its shape,” he said, noting that five years ago, the party was soundly defeated at the polls.
“We were down but we were never out. We knew we were always the party of the long haul and sometimes the runner stumbles and even when the runner falls the tape is always on his mind,” he added.
Rowley said he had also sought to impress on the general population that “the value of the PNM is to be available to the people of Trinidad and Tobago whenever you need to call on us.
“Once again the people of Trinidad and Tobago have called on the People’s National Movement,” he said, noting that while the majority of the new legislators are new to Parliament “all of us, new and old, young and not so young, we will be guided by the fundamental principles f the People’s National Movement and the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago”.
He said throughout the campaign, the PNM had made it clear “these are not the time of milk and honey, there are difficult times ahead.
“It is like going down the river and I am telling you that there are rapids ahead, there’s rough water ahead there are white water sections ahead, but if we navigate them successfully there’s calm waters ahead,” he said insisting that “our country is not a basket case.
“We have a fair amount of resources, we have a resilient people, particularly a large body of young people who are looking for a future from our country.
“We will succeed not basically on who is in office or who won the election, but more importantly how we behave as a people in treating with the challenges ahead,” he added.
He compared the victory to a marriage, saying “a wedding is a feast, it is a fete good speeches around, the wedding is the beginning, it is the living that matters, let’s live together in harmony”.
PNM supporters have taken to the streets in celebration, honking car horns and waving flags and Rowley said “we have taken the responsibility of offering ourselves and now we will proceed with what we outlined in our manifesto given the circumstances that have developed bearing in mind all the time that we do not govern for ourselves but we are servants of the people of Trinidad and Tobago”.
There have been lots of changes in government in the Caribbean in the last couple of years as the people become less and less fearful of replacing parties that have failed to produce meaningful economic and social betterment.
Will the people of SVG have the courage and wisdom to foIlow suit by throwing out this failed and tired regime? Or are too many now too bought off or too brainwashed to make this possible?
Why should we replace the ULP Government and they are doing a great job . Who are you going to replace them with . I think we as a people should stop this anti- Ralph hating thing and try to move SVG forward . In Barbados thousands of people lost there jobs over the past year and more going home every week .How much have loose their jobs in SVG . Taxes are raising every month in Barbados our neighbor , how often are taxes raise in SVG . When was the last time the workers of the Eastern Caribbean and Barbados receive a hike in their salaries . I know for sure the government of SVG is doing great compare to the rest .I must thank God for the internet where I can go and research things so that people like you and the rest wont get to Brain wash me .
Smithie, I respect your opinion but cannot respect your analysis of the situation. If you cannot see the wrong that Gonsalves has brought with his policies. People have suffered spite and hatred from sections of the government against people who do not support them. The whole country has been divided and there is more hatred between parties than ever in the history of our State.
The country is bankrupt, there has never been more people out of work. Stores are closing down and Gonsalves has failed to bring any industry whatsoever to the State despite promising in 2001 that investors were lining up, that was completely untrue.
How you can admire a man that has been accused of sex crimes against at least six women, yet never been to court to answer any of the charges or allegations.
How you can admire a man that tells so many lies, and even admitted that he tells lies.
The salaries in SVG have been held back to such an extent that what a person earns today is worth about half of what it was when Gonsalves came to power.
If the country has to suffer the man Gonsalves for another term you will be able to say goodbye to Vincentian society as we all know it.
These things that I mention are not fiction, they are not political rhetoric they are fact.
The hate is not for the man its for all that has happened on his watch. Even if he can claim some points, all of those are struck out by all the wrongs rendered under his watch.
When you mention you know for a fact, may I put it to you that you know no such thing as a fact.
Obviously you are not very good at internet research, you have been reading to many lies on facebook and such like.
May I suggest you get a mind of your own, perhaps you are young and inexperienced, because I doubt any person of average or above average IQ would write what you wrote. Unless of course you are a paid spin doctor.
I do not want to call you silly or stupid, but may I suggest you think again about what you wrote, if you cannot then agree with the obvious, thank you and good night.
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