Split in the PNM?

PNM Walkout

Newsday Editorial
December 08 2010 – newsday.co.tt

PNMOpposition Chief Whip Marlene Mc Donald may shut her eyes to reality, play word games and deny her parliamentary bench is split, but Friday’s partial walkout of the Chamber can leave few in doubt of the power struggle that is confusing the PNM side. Friday’s division of the bench showed TT what it has for six months suspected: since losing office, there has existed a tug of war in the Parliament between MPs loyal to new Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley and representatives sympathetic to their former chief, Patrick Manning. Friday was a physical manifestation of the current PNM political reality.

Let’s quickly recap the events which led to Friday’s halfhearted exodus. Dr Browne was speaking on the anti-gang legislation when he was warned several times by Speaker Wade Mark to be relevant or told he would be asked to resume his seat. On seeking to continue in the same vein, the Government used its majority to shut him down. Dr Browne walked out. He was followed by Arouca/Maloney MP Alicia Hospedales, Point Fortin MP Paula Gopee-Scoon, La Brea MP Fitzgerald Jeffery, Laventille West MP NiLeung Hypolite and a little later by St Ann’s East MP Joanne Thomas, who at first hesitated and was apparently asked by Mc Donald to stay. Nevertheless, she departed 15 minutes later. Ms Mc Donald, Mr Imbert, seated in the seat of the absent Dr Rowley, and Laventille East/Morvant MP Donna Cox stayed put.

Mr Manning was not present at the time of the protest action nor was Port-of-Spain North/St Ann’s West representative, Patricia McIntosh plus Dr Rowley. But Dr Browne is seen as a pro Manning MP. Dr Browne on Friday, in the absence of Mr Manning, behaved as Mr Manning has: ignoring the Bill, he went right for the PM and when rebuked, took matters into his own hands.

The PNM is without a doubt split and it seems the division is seven-five in favour of Mr Manning. The country must pose PNM MPs the question and they must answer it: who is your leader? It matters little now that Mc Donald has retracted her strong words to MPs and is singing a different tune. It matters little that the MPs who stayed are claiming they supported Dr Browne in theory, but had to stay to prevent the Government from passing legislation in their absence. If this is the case, then why did Joanne Thomas not remain behind after a word from Ms Mc Donald? Most of all, why did the Whip chastise her MPs one day and the next, say she supported them? The country will see Ms Mc Donald’s about face and tap dancing around the issue for what they are: useless damage control. Two consecutive statements that contradict create more chaos and lend further credence to the belief that the PNM is in disarray.

MPs have whips and leaders to avoid disorder, to set the agenda and to restrain the whims of the individual. It is thus the people get served. The six PNM MPs of the partial walkout took oaths to serve the Constitution in a Westminster system that recognises the authority of the Whip as elemental to the proper functioning of Parliament. Ignore the Whip and the system falls apart. Anarchy rules as it did Friday when few looked to the Whip for leadership. Most did as they pleased: they followed Mr Manning’s guy, Dr Browne and paid no attention to Dr Rowley’s Ms Mc Donald.

Dr Browne and the five MPs who walked out without so much as a by your leave from the Opposition Whip, have perhaps forgotten the people who elected them. As Ms Mc Donald has correctly noted, on Friday the Government could have passed several pieces of vital legislation without debate or objection. The MPs who abandoned the Chamber on Friday on the say so of a peeved Dr Browne have been elected not to represent Dr Browne (or Mr Manning) but their constituents. On Friday they left these voiceless.

Ms Mc Donald may crack the whip or stroke her MPs ego, as a Dr Rowley appointee, she will continue to find it difficult to command them. On Friday Ms Mc Donald lost control of her charges and if we closely read her mixed messages, it is clear she still has not regained it.



PNM MPs in shadow of elephant in chamber
Express Editorial
For yet another time, ranking PNM figures have found it necessary to stress the absence of divisions in the ranks, or to paper over such cracks as appear obvious to the public. The Opposition’s Chief Whip, Marlene McDonald, who on Sunday appeared ready to crack the “whip” implied by her parliamentary title, on Monday declared herself “symbolically supportive” of colleagues who had ignored her authority and walked out in support of Diego Martin Central MP Dr Amery Browne.

13 thoughts on “Split in the PNM?”

  1. Much ado about nothing really Mr Editor, and the more relevant question is , who cares about what Opposition MPs do or not do to past their time in parliament?
    Remember in the past when some toothless tiger leader, was known to be looking at his stolen loot , interest rise and fall ,at the London Stock Exchange ,on personal laptops , and was reprimanded by our then astute , independent Speaker ,for it?
    What is more relevant however is what is transpiring under the present regime , and where your allegiance would be, as far as the public needs are concern,when that inevitable fission do occur under the overwhelming strain created under the PP ,convenient , political concoction?

  2. Jack is lamenting that the Chairman of Caribbean Airlines is not reporting to him. Kamla’s office say that Gibbs is in charge of the SIA. Gibbs say that he is not in charge of the SIA. With all this confusion going on in the PP Government, Newsday, the “official organ” of the Peoples Partnership, is worrying about philosophical differences among the PNM parliamentarians. Newsday would love to see the dis-integration of the PNM party.

    1. The fact is the PNM does have a split. The Manning faction and the Rowley faction. Both are leading the PNM currently. Manning is defending his history, while Keith is trying to create his own history. The fact is the PNM is undergoing what most parties undergo following defeat, a time of introspection and internal struggles. Party faithfuls should not be surprised by this because Mr. Manning is in fact the leader of the party. He have the support of the majority. Keith is the psuedo leader meaning that Keith is recognised as the leader of party but he cannot act as the leader until Manning steps aside.

      I think Mr. Manning will make his move on Keith at the appropriate time…. For the first time the PNM in Opposition will have to show their discipline but alas with Browne doing his thing and Manning doing his thing interesting days are ahead.

      1. If this gibberish is so true khem , then why are you and others of the delusional party clan, not doing the drunken rain dance,as you look forward with glee in anticipation of 2014?

  3. We are witnessing daily how the pnm is in totalconfusion. It still has not gottenover its massive loss in the General and Local elections. It is time for a new oppositionparty. The PNM is a dead party for all intents and purposes. The PNM supporters may twist and turn to avoid RIP status but people know when something is dead. The PNM is showing all the signs of a party in disarray. An oppostition in disarray cannot serve the people.

  4. A little birdie told me that Manning planning to take back leadership of the PNM, Rowley is worried that his political mojo will be put to the test very soon.Infighting between Manning and Rowley never ceased even after the elections, I believe the fire is lit that would incinerate this demonic political party that is based on obeah, I guess we will find out who have the better obeah man now, Patos or Rowley.

  5. It is a stupid battle that is brewing. Manning led the PNM to opposition with a little support from Rowley. The defeat was so overwhelming that Rowley is leading a PNM B team including Donna Cox and Marlene Mc Donald who are trying to play stong. Manning can win back the leadership of the party but he cannot lead the nation so what is the sense. Rowley is a better bet but is being undermine by the Manningites. Needless to say Imbert and Beckles believe that they can be the leaders too. I feel sorry for the PNM they are reminding me of the West Indies team after the glory years. In a way Rowley is like Brian Lara a star in his own right, but a questionable leader with a weak supporting cast. Heaven help them all.

  6. This article can be more rightly termed “mischevious” than informative, given Newsday’s sentimental political leaning to the side of the PPP it would be foolish to even believe the intent of their story. This is artwork in literature where a public company with STRONG political affiliations tries to write a somewhat objective story about a party it despises. While some timelines and antics might be true, the intent of the story is definitely suspect. For this one I say shame on you NEWSDAY!!!!

    1. When all parties have to join together and run a campaigne based on slander and deceit to tople the PNM, and you think this party is dead? Alot of the party’s supporters either stayed away from the polls, and some even voted for the partnership to get the rid of Manning, and that having been accomplished, and the dissatisfaction with the choice they made, You really think the PNM is a dead party?

  7. It is my deep hope that this delusional Manning character, and his ardent , rabid fans ,would do the Panday/ Ramesh M, anti Dookeran maneuver , and put the final nail in the heart of Doc Rottweiler, so that he can realize just like Robinson once did in 1990 ,after four bullets ricochet across his knees , that Trini blood is much thicker that Tobago water.
    As such ,he would suck up his pride,pack his crocus bags , and return home to lead his people into full political independence by finally severing this infected umbilical cord, that ensured the majority of folks on one island ,in our Twin Republic,remain neglected ,perennial third class citizens when compared.
    What an under achieving country , where each and every race pretend to find an equal place since 1962, as some habitually accept a 6 for a 9.


  9. Aye aye aye doh bad talk my country because you all can’t get your house in order!Look here,allyuh better watch your mouth, especially you Ann, what yuh mean by “TRINIDAD IS A SICK COUNTRY”?
    I am a Trini and ah doh care what party yuh follow, just watch what yuh say about my country please, as bad as things may be it is still home for me and I love my country, yuh hear meh!!

  10. Yeah Ann, I am with cousin morougamax on this one ,mi gal. Enough with political party obsessions, and blind leadership adulations. Just applaud them all when a good job is done, but likewise never hesitate to expose their failures, foibles, and missteps ,when they mess up, then move on. Calling us “a sick country,” might be a bit over the top.
    Repeat after me instead:- It’s underachieving, which means, with ‘a lil bit oh tweaking , and steady leadership ,’ we can get it right back on track, ‘intende?’
    Luv country , over political party,ma dear!
    Best wishes to all my national brothers and sisters.

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