It’s war now

By Lara Pickford-Gordon
Monday, June 9 2008

Dr. Keith Rowley“I will take on from the PM to the cook. I don’t care what office you hold in this country. I don’t care what office you hold in this party. If you challenge my reputation then the war is on,” Member of Parliament for Diego Martin West Dr Keith Rowley announced yesterday as he addressed supporters in his Diego Martin Constituency 4th annual conference at the Pt Cumana Regional Com-plex, Carenage.

Rowley said on matters of his reputation his children must be able to walk the streets of this country with their heads held high.

Rowley said he would not defend his reputation on the PNM platform or in Parliament but “in a court of law.”

The MP who gave a fiery one and a half hour address which started just after 4 pm, touched on the allegations made against him as well as internal party matters. Rowley delivered several stinging comments aimed at Prime Minister Patrick Manning.

Rowley referred to attempts to remove him in 2006 through a report compiled by the Integrity Commission and a police investigation on “criminal conduct” and a report sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Rowley said he was totally unaware of these developments but his Cabinet colleagues knew “because they were behind it.”

Even before the controversy with Udecott and the Centre for Performing Arts Rowley said he “expected” to be fired and knew he was “a marked man” over a disagreement he had with Manning over a project Udecott was to undertake involving Eteck, and plans to build 50 Presidential Suites at Trinidad Hilton.

Rowley said at the end of January he returned from a Caricom meeting in Guyana to be told by his Permanent Secretary of a “problem with Eteck” requiring his attention.

As Minister of Trade and Industry he had responsibility for Eteck. Rowley cited section 85 of the Constitution to support that as Minister he had “general direction and control” over the department he was assigned.

“Eteck was my department and I had constitutional responsibility for it yet my Permanent Secretary comes to me and tells me there’s a problem at Eteck, Udecott has gone to Eteck with a view of having Eteck, on Udecott’s behalf, commence a $240 million project at Trinidad Hilton.”

Rowley said he contacted the “head of Eteck” on the phone and confirmed what the PS had said.

He also advised Rowley that Udecott’s chairman Calder Hart had stated the project was to be completed in time for the Heads of Government Conference to take place in Trinidad next year.

Rowley said the Tarouba project immediately came to mind.

“I was told that Eteck was told by Udecott that this was to be done on the Prime Minister’s instruction.” Rowley cited a letter received by Eteck indicating this. “The Prime Minister does not talk to the Minister, I come to the country to be told of this by my PS who is told about this by the CEO of Eteck. But Calder Hart is ready to begin construction.”

Rowley said he spoke to Manning during a tea break in Parliament and enquired about the project, indicating that it had not come to Cabinet. “The PM became hostile and he said to me, well we are just talking about it.”

Rowley reported to Manning what he was told about him (Manning) giving the go ahead for the Hilton project to begin. Manning responded that many things are said in the name of the PM.

“I said I am not talking about many things but this specific project at the Hilton which falls under my portfolio.” Manning said the project would have to go to Cabinet.

“I said the point I am trying to make is it will eventually go to Cabinet but Udecott is about to start construction. The PM got into a rage and threatened to lose his cool with me.”

Rowley reminded that he had portfolio for the Ministry of Trade, and Eteck was under his purview. “I said ‘I am not prepared to accept Udecott coming into the Ministry of Trade carrying out any construction programme without the involvement of the Ministry of Trade and PS.’”

Rowley said he had the temerity to challenge the PM’s authority and took objection to something authorised for Udecott “because Udecott is a department of State which Ministers must not interfere with.”

Responding to those who expect him to make a challenge for the leadership at the PNM General Convention, Rowley said, “No thank you.” He told his constituents he was not prepared to subject himself to the charade.

He said the party’s constitution had “shortcomings” which enabled incumbents to control the election process “in so far as they crave power”.

Rowley said a committee under Glenda Morean which reviewed the constitution had made recommendations but they were never implemented.,80398.html

Rowley not running against PM
Dismissed Trade and Industry Minister Dr Keith Rowley says he will not run against Prime Minister Patrick Manning for the political leadership of the ruling People’s National Movement at its upcoming convention, as long as its existing election procedures are still in effect.

Hits out at Mariano Browne
Rowley waded into PNM Minister Mariano Browne and other ministers yesterday on statements they made about him and Udecott respectively.

Hinds raps ministers for ‘injustice’ to Rowley
There are serious problems inside the PNM, and PNMites must resolve to do what’s necessary to fix them, former PNM MP and minister Fitzgerald Hinds says…

7 thoughts on “It’s war now”

  1. I commend Mr Rowley………He is the only man in T & T with integrity and understanding of true ethical behavior. It is time someone challenges the nonsence philosphy that rules T & T. You have my support.
    Gaz baksh, Oklahoma,USA

  2. I also commend Dr.Rowley for his principled stand. It is laudible that at least Fitzgerald is in his corner. I had astonishingly read back then of Rowley’s sacking from the Cabinet. Why wasn’t he (Rowley) given another ministry. It was a deliberate, collaborated effort by PM and his cohorts to ridicule Rowley, a very hard working Minister. Was Kenneth (Valley) telling the truth bsck then. Wake up Trinidad, we need more Keith Rowleys to shock PM Manning into realising that dictatorship would not be tolerated in TNT.

  3. How did the PNM come to this?
    Dr Keith Rowley who was recently dismissed from Cabinet as Minister of Trade and Industry, addressed the constituents of Diego Martin West at the constituency’s annual conference last Sunday.

    In a heated presentation lasting over an hour, Dr Rowley was highly critical of the leadership of Prime Minister Patrick Manning.

    Dr Rowley continued allegations against Udecott and its operations and called on PNM membership to take back the party from the clique that has taken hold of it. Below we publish Part Three of Dr Rowley’s speech. Parts One and Two appeared on Wednesday and Thursday.
    Full Article :

  4. The question all serious thinkers in the country must ask is whether we are better off as a nation with a ruling party without a succession plan, or one where brand new untried politicians are elevated above tried and true members of the government. Are we forgetting how we got Chambersas Prime Minister.

    It is better to be led by a rottweiler that a collection of pothounds on either side of the aisle.

    A party, even one that may think its the only party in the country, is bigger than one man.

    In an argument, I often told my students that the more mature person in the situation, should back off. Who is the more mature person here? Could somebody please tell?. A party defeated by internal strife is sorrier than one defeated by a viable opposition. Mark my words.

    I have nothing to gain from this. we have a country to lose to further strife .

  5. Less than two hours after the above comment was posted,the news was announced that the veteran NBC reporter Tim Russert had collapsed and died at his desk in his Washington, DC ofice. Tim was a gentle giant of the news industry,who anchored a number of the debates between candidates for the upcoming presidential election. His sudden passing at 58, should remind us all that tomorrow is not guaranteed, and plans have to be made for smooth transitions from one leader to another. This makes the quarreling within the PNM all the more tragic.Anyone could be gone in the blink of an eye.

    Tim hs crossed the bar of God’s justice into the light of everlasting peace. We who are left should ask ourselves: What is the lesson to be learned here?

  6. Rowley goes into ‘attack’
    The statements of former Minister Dr Keith Rowley at the St Ann’s East constituency conference have sparked concerns that he has “crossed the line”.

    …warns PNM on spending $$
    Diego Martin West MP, Dr Keith Rowley says the PNM government needs to watch how it is spending taxpayers money and warned that the party could have a difficult time winning the next general elections, if the population perceived that the party misspent the country’s financial resources.

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