Clayton Blackman, senior lecturer in Leadership and Ethics at the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT), is hoping to clinch the title of Education Officer during the People’s National Movement (PNM) internal election on Sunday.
If elected, Blackman is optimistic about revitalising a PNM party school and revolutionising education via the online platform. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s pick for Education Officer is Overand Padmore. Blackman said he has the support of some members of the PNM Youth League. His campaign managers, Health Officer Candy Brathwaite and businessman Kendell Dennie are assisting him in his political quest.
Hoping to start PNM school
Asked to share his sentiments, Blackman said: “The PNM constitution speaks about a party school where History, Politics and Government will be taught. It needs to be revitalised. We have to start with the children and educate them about our great party and its founders like the late Prime Minister/historian Dr Eric Williams. We are in the process of restoring Balisier House. It is a heritage site which boasts its own unique history.”
Blackman added: “I would be advocating for a block at Balisier House where information can be disseminated to the PNM population easily, and anyone wishing to do research. Students can get information for projects. Even meetings can be done from locations outside of Balisier House. General Council meetings can be held outside. I want to revitalise statutory meetings.”
Area manager system
Blackman also said he will be looking at creating an efficient area manager system which worked well under Manning.
He said: “It is a system which has an area manager for each electoral district. There will be street runners and captains. It will help wheelchair bound people to get to the schools and electoral offices. It is about effective managing in areas like D’abadie/O’Meara and Tumpuna. It will make it easier for the constituency chairman to verify groups. It is something we need to look into as we move towards Local Government, General and Tobago House of Assembly (THA) elections in the near future.”
CSEC failures, literacy concerns
On the online platform, Blackman said: “It must be hybrid and affordable. It must introduce up to date education programmes and state of the art technology. I am alarmed at the number of young people who did not get one CSEC pass. I am concerned about the number of children and young people who cannot read and write properly. Literacy needs to be improved.”
He added, “I have plans to introduce a scholarship for SEA, CSEC and Cape students. I have plans to introduce an annual career fair to point people in the direction of tertiary education. Eventually we will be looking at more homework centres.” He also paid kudos to Education Minister Anthony Garcia for the introduction of proper labs where children can use their laptops.
Slipping into campaign mode, Blackman added: “I am first and foremost an educator. I think I can do things differently with respect to education. It is winnable. I want to make it clear I am a member of the PNM. I share the party’s vision. But it is a democracy, and, I have thrown my hat into the ring. I am an Independent candidate. But whatever I do will also be in keeping with the party’s overarching vision for education.”
About Clayton Blackman
He is a former Member of the Central Tenders Board, Commissioner with the Regulators Industries Commission, Chairman of the Organisation of Caribbean Utility Regulators and President of the National Association of Administrative Professionals of Trinidad and Tobago. Blackman is a basketball enthusiast, and also the former president of the National Basketball Federation. He also served on the Caribbean Confederation of Basketball and was an official for track and field.
He served as Marketing Manager for D’abadie/O’Meara Member of Parliament Brigadier Ancil Antoine, and also led the sports committee for the past three years in D’abadie/O’Meara, and organised family days.
A father of three, Blackman lives at D’abadie and is married to retired Petrotrin employee Eileen Blackman.
Blackman also thanked his supporters, students and well-wishers who have supported him in his endeavour.