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Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley addresses a PNM meeting in Chaguanas last night.

Gail Alexander

PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley says he’s waiting to hear what the UNC will tell the court on its Princes Town candidate Barry Padarath’s nomination form issue.

Speaking at PNM’s Chaguanas East meeting last night, Rowley said the UNC in the 2015 election went to court on the Election and Boundaries Commission’s (EBC) extension of the voting time to 6 pm.

He noted the court had agreed the EBC had acted improperly in extending time and chided the EBC.

He said the UNC had stressed on following the law, but he was waiting to hear what would be said on the Padarath matter since the law states if one didn’t file the proper form, one’s nomination is invalid.

He said the UNC used the wrong form. (See Page 8)

Dr Rowley added that Padarath’s defence might be that he was in quarantine – but he was still in T&T.

“So I don’t know what they will tell the court…so the MP for Princes Town (next week) (is) PNM’s Sharon Baboolal! The courthouse is there for all of us.”

Rowley said he’d understood there are voters whose minds are not yet made up.

“You have to choose between them (UNC) and us and the PNM is the best choice. He said there are no PNM candidates who had information to force the leadership to select them.”

Rowley added this week will be a rough one as all kinds of things will happen between now and Monday.

He said the UNC has groups in the US involving people who are crying and begging for the T&T borders to be opened.

Displaying the group’s brochure, he said the group said they were US nationals and as such, were urging T&T nationals to vote for UNC. He warned that the UNC if elected, would open the borders and flood T&T with COVID.

He added the UNC has written its 2021 Budget already and that involved spending UTC and NIB’s money which belong to the people. He said people would have to decide in voting if they’d be a victim or an accomplice to this.

Rowley also called on the Law Association to say if it was proper for an attorney to ask a judge to delay a matter until after the elections since the outcome might affect the polls.

Rowley disputed a recent Express headline on alleged issues regarding National Security Minister Stuart Young and the UNC’s claims on the reasons why Young and Attorney General Faris Al Rawis had to recuse themselves from cabinet meetings.

He said recusals are part of Cabinet’s normal operation if a matter involved a minister’s name.

Rowley said out of 9,200 Cabinet notes, both recused themselves a total of 94 times. He said on 54 occasions, one minister decided he’d recuse himself every time a bank’s name arose. A relative of his worked there. Rowley said the AG and his family are very involved in real estate and if a matter came up, the AG would say it was a family member or his wife’s cousin and would withdraw from the issue.

Rowley recalled that when his daughters won scholarships in 2004 and 2006 he also withdrew from Cabinet when the list of names announced arose.

On the PNM’s 80-page manifesto, Rowley said the document has 10 pages on the future T&T, based on the digital economy plan. He said this would bring more productivity and accountability. Rowley called on young people to come forward and lead this digital thrust.

He said items in PNM’s last 2015 manifesto have “either been done or we’re working on it.’’