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.