“I am certain they will,” Ferdie Ferreira said in an interview on Friday from his home in Blue Range, Diego Martin.
Ferreira said the fact that Patrick Manning had resigned as political leader in the wake of the PNM’s humiliating 29-12 defeat in Monday’s general election would undoubtedly create a new wave of interest in the 54-year-old party.
“With the resignation of Manning, I am sure there is going to be a heavy influx of applications to join the PNM,” he predicted.
“There can be no better time for the faithful and those who are interested in good governance and democracy to return to our party and assist in the reconstruction of the greatest party that Trinidad and Tobago has ever seen.
“This is an opportunity to join in the reconstruction of a great party and ensure, not by word but by actions that ‘Great is the PNM and it shall prevail’.”
A former political adviser to PNM founder and former Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams, Ferreira has held several executive posts within the party since its inception in 1956.
Apart from being its former labour relations and elections officer, he also served on the PNM’s central executive and general council.
Ferreira said he had been a diligent servant of Williams even before the party was officially launched at Woodford Square in Port-of-Spain.
“I did everything from preparing for meetings to tying up the microphone,” he said, adding that it was Williams’ wisdom, knowledge of the history of the Caribbean and projections for the future of the people in the region that had attracted him to the PNM.
Ferreira said he was not surprised by the PNM’s defeat in Monday’s poll.
“I expected it. I predicted it because it came at a time when the party’s popularity was at its lowest ever,” he said.
“Manning himself said he was the most vilified prime minister in the history of the country. But I have said that vilification has a price.”
According to Ferreira, the Manning administration went into the election with what he considered to be four negatives – Udecott, the property tax, the TT Revenue Authority and “the Rowley factor”.
“All these contributed to bringing down the PNM,” he insisted.
Ferreira said Manning’s decision to call a general election two and a half years before it was constitutionally due, was not just totally unjustifiable, but an impossible dream.
“He was politically immature and insensitive and showed total disregard and utter contempt for the electorate,” he said.
Ferreira believes that Diego Martin West MP Dr Keith Rowley is the best man to fill the void left by Manning as political leader.
“I don’t know that the party has any choice. He is the only representative that has come out with his credibility intact and the only one who has been redeemed. The party is fortunate to have someone like Rowley,” he said.
Ferreira scoffed at reports that victorious Diego Martin North East MP Colm Imbert was contemplating throwing his hat into the ring for leadership.
“Outside of Manning, Imbert is the most unpopular Member of Parliament and any attempt by the General Council to impose him on the party will further contribute to the demise of the PNM,” he said.
Ferreira regarded the former Works Minister as the “least marketable among the current political apostles of the PNM.
“What the party members and the electorate would prefer about Colm Imbert is his absence. He was to a great extent, partially responsible for the defeat of the PNM because of his arrogance,” he added.
In order for the party to heal and progress, Ferreira said, members must appoint an interim political leader in accordance with the constitutional process.
He said the appointee would then become Leader of the Opposition and should select six senators who, in the party’s opinion, can assist in rebuilding the party.
“They must be able to put the party in a state of preparedness for the annual convention on June 27 and the possibility of local government elections within a few months,” Ferreira said.
Ferreira made it clear that the leadership process must not be “hijacked by a bunch of political opportunists. Now is the time for the tried and trusted servants of the party to take control its leadership. What is required is election, not selection,” he added.