May 10, 2021

OUR CARIBBEAN: Finally, Rowley as T&T prime minister

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bloc-ourcaribbean-new2646-450x303By Rickey Singh From Barbados Nation News
THE 65-year-old volcanologist,Dr Keith Rowley, who is now the new Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, succeeded in upstaging all the professional pollsters and organisations at Monday’s general elections when he accurately forecast victory for his People’s National Movement by “more than 21 seats” for the 41-member House of Representatives.
In a ferocious political battle for state power between his PNM and the incumbent People’s Partnership coalition of the country’s first woman Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Rowley went beyond customary forecasts by pollsters and “political pundits to predict victory by “more than 21 seats” for the PNM – while voters were still queuing to cast their ballots.
His prediction came as a crowning award for a politician struggling in the trenches for many years to provide leadership for his party and this Caricom member state, which is viewed as the most cosmopolitan in our Caribbean region. Fortunately for CARICOM, Trinidad and Tobago, a founding member of the regional integration movement, has always been quite supportive with its resources and goodwill.
During the long, challenging, tense election campaign period both Persad-Bissessar and Rowley were fiercely battling to score political mileage with fervent pleas to “celebrate our diversity”.
Well, with the national motto being what it is: Together We Aspire, Together We Achieve proof of the quality of the “pudding” as served by a government in Port-of-Spain – would be in the “eating” – as also remains a constant reminder and challenge for changing administrations in Georgetown, where social/political tension could be quite an irritant.
Some realities
A most challenging theme during Rowley’s PNM’s election battle was its so-called three Rs: Restore, Rebuild, Represent.
There are some other realities for consideration. Last weekend, for instance, the Barbados Private Sector thought it necessary to advise Barbadians to closely follow the outcome of T&T’s general elections, contending that the official outcome “could determine whether there would be a shift in focus for businesses based in Port-of-Spain . . .”
Well, the reality is that while under successive administrations in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad’s entrepreneurs continued to aggressively maximise business gains across Caricom, with Barbados being a central hub in the Eastern Caribbean, the real challenge seems to reside in the capacity and commitment of Barbadian entrepreneurs to extend their “business profile” in that twin-island state currently facing increasing economic challenges in its vital energy sector.
For now, we must await what specific new initiatives Prime Minister Rowley intends to pursue in order of priorities. A non-economic one, but deserving of priority attention which was not givem by the just-ended People’s Partnership administration is the long-overdue access by T&T to membership of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which is headquartered in Port-of-Spain.
Rickey Singh is a noted Caribbean journalist.
For more on this story go to: http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/72045/caribbean-finally-rowley-prime-minister#sthash.rQuetDlI.dpuf

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