Saturday 19 September, 2020

PM: 'I thought about not running in 2020 election'

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley declares PNM's victory at the polls on election night, August 10, 2020.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley declares PNM's victory at the polls on election night, August 10, 2020.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has admitted that he considered not offering himself as a candidate in the country’s recently contested general election.

Rowley made the admission during a televised interview on CNC3’s Morning Brew programme on Wednesday.

He said he chose not to share this consideration with members of the People’s National Movement (PNM) camp out of concerns they would “misunderstand it”.

A factor that played heavily in this consideration was the long period he has been actively involved in politics.

“I’ve been in this for a long time. I’ve been in public life and its strictures. When I look at it, I’ve been in this for a long time. There are some things I really want to do and that is like, looming.

“You know what 40 years is? There comes a time when you begin to look over the horizon and I guess I am at that stage.”

Questioned on whether he had identified his successor, the PNM leader said he would rather not answer at this time, but stated that the party is not a monarchy where a leader picks its replacement.

He assured, however, that he is ensuring the proper systems are in place for such a transition.

On whether he would be contesting the next general election, constitutionally due in 2025, Rowley said he has not yet taken any decision in that regard. He also would not say if he would contest the party’s leadership in the next internal election.

“I don’t think that I, at this stage, should be taking that decision, but I have taken the decision that I should be transitioning and ensuring that there is succession planning in the PNM.

“There’s an election due in the PNM some time soon for the leadership, I have not taken a decision on [contesting the leadership] but the PNM is well organised to deal with these situations,” he said.

While he did not give too many details on the party’s process of succession planning, he assured that work is being done in this regard.

“My role, really is to make sure that those people are developed to a point where when there is time for selection of somebody to replace me either in the short or the medium term that the party and the country has people who can say I fit the bill,” he said.

As for the party’s mandate for its new term, Rowley said those plans are embodied in the PNM’s manifesto commitments.

He gave a brief overview of wide-ranging plans which include a focus on the development of human capital, changes to improve governance on the revenue side and efforts to create opportunity through an “aggressive” development programme.

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