Keith rowley

IT was indeed a breath of fresh air to have witnessed the national outpouring of love, concern and prayers for our beloved Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in his most recent bout of illness. Thankfully, God has answered our prayers.

In 1988, I would frequently visit former Port of Spain mayor Stevenson Sarjeant at his home on Coronation Street, St James, during the period we were forming the St James Working Council. On one of those visits, we ended up talking politics and what the future holds for the People’s National Movement (PNM) with its three seats in the Lower House and six seats in the Upper House, and he said to me, “One day Dr Keith Rowley would be the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.”

I asked him, “so what will happen to Mr Manning?” He said, “well he is the PNM’s political leader, but Dr Rowley, at some point in time, will be the Prime Minister, just mark my words at what I am saying to you, one day he will become prime minister.” And Stevenson Sarjeant went on to remind me of Dr Eric Williams’ Independence Day address to the nation when he alluded to the future of T&T saying it was in the children’s school bags; telling me that Dr Rowley is a living exemplification of Dr Williams statement, and if he Dr Williams, was alive today, Dr Williams would have been very proud of Dr Rowley because that is what he meant.

Since, 1996, when I first endorsed Dr Rowley for the leadership of the PNM, and subsequent endorsements of him over time, I have always related this 1988 conversation with Mr Sarjeant, and now here it is in writing. Dr Rowley’s book From Mason Hall to White Hall bears testimony to Mr Sarjeant’s assertion and his subsequent prediction made in 1988.

I like Dr Rowley because he is tough, has lots of qualities that other leaders lack. He is smart, sensible and ambitious, passionate and enthusiastic. Nobody would glance at a politician who has lost his/her value.

Dr Rowley’s value is intact and he is the PNM party’s most valuable asset. He is doing his party, his Government and his country, particularly all Tobagonians, proud by demonstrating our standards of decency and accountability have all not been eroded and gone through the window, that there were still men of spine; public officials who can still be positive and dynamic; that in the face of adversity there is still hope for any country that throws up brave, reliable, determined and trustworthy people who are prepared to act when they know they are in the right, and stand their ground on principle, no matter the reaction.

I wish him a speedy recovery.


Carnival pores now raising up. Driven in part by the regret of pockets not filling, there are calls to do something to mark the spot normally occupied by the Carnival season.

But Sekon Sta (Nesta Boxill) is smarter than all of those who are belatedly rushing into the headlines. In the words of Sparrow, “Ah wish I coulda go and shake he han”. I might invite him to change his name to First Sta, in recognition of being the first to re-jig a Carnival product for pandemic times.

The judgment delivered by Justice Frank Seepersad on Wednesday in favour of this newspaper, its editor-in-chief and publishing company underscores the urgent need for strengthening legislative protection of press freedom and journalistic sources.

Tribalism has dominated the politics of Trinidad and Tobago since self-government, with our two major political parties having their support bases in the two major races in the country.

Last Thursday, in his response to a letter written by 23 Afro-Trinbagonians about the placement of black pupils in our secondary schools, Kamal Persad, coordinator of the Indian Review Committee, responded: “It is clear the under-performance of Afro-children in the education system is still at the top of the black agenda. Accordingly, these 23 persons of African descent adopted an unmistakable black race position.” (Express, January 14).

The urgency with which this nation must address the issues that threaten to throw us back into the Stone Age cannot be over-emphasised.

We were already in deep trouble when Covid-19 struck with pandemic force in early 2020, sending us reeling from blows to the body, the mind, even the spirit. The energy and petrochemicals sectors faced grim circumstances, the availability of natural gas, the key feedstock of the latter’s operations, being of grave concern, and the markets for their products saturated and dampened.

Some say that in our diversification thrust we should choose distribution and sales of products/services made by others, as opposed to manufacturing. The justification for this is that such companies are among the highest earners in the world, and that Trinidad and Tobago is too small to compete globally in manufacturing.