PNM: We have Hindus too

On Wednesday Warner, in response to a private motion filed by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, said the PNM had a history of discriminating against East Indians. He cited years of Cabinet and board appointments, lawsuits and the awarding of CEPEP contracts and also noted that the Opposition party had not placed any East Indian candidates in safe seats for general elections. Warner also said the current PNM executive had no Hindus. However, the PNM yesterday responded.

“The PNM wishes to categorically denounce the statement made by the Minister of Works and Transport...that there are no Hindus in the current national executive of the party.”

Ford noted that Rohan Sinanan, one of four deputy political leaders, and Indar Parasam, the field officer, are both Hindus.

There are 18 persons on the executive, including the PNM political leader.

While Warner had pointed to the absence of East Indians on the Opposition benches in Parliament, Ford accused Warner of saying there was only one race present.

“Mr Warner also accused the PNM of having representatives in Parliament of only one ethnic group,” Ford claimed. He continued, “The PNM has always presented a slate of candidates for Local or general election that reflect the racial and ethnic composition of the population.” He noted that for the May 24, 2010, General Election, the PNM’s 41 candidates comprised 17 East Indians, 16 Africans and eight mixed-race candidates.

“These are irrefutable facts contrary to the blatant misinformation that were peddled by Mr Warner who is also chairman of the UNC,” Ford said.He did not respond to Warner’s claim that the PNM had declined to put East Indians to contest “safe” PNM seats over the decades.

Of Warner’s statistics in relation to board appointments, in which he said about half of appointees were East Indians, Ford questioned Warner’s figures.

“Mr Warner said in Parliament that the PNM appointed 508 Indians to boards and 138 Indians representing 79 percent non-Indians and 21 percent Indians,” Ford noted. “He (Warner) further said by contrast the UNC coalition appointed 508 non-Indians and 579 Indians, a ratio of 47 percent to 53 percent.

“Therefore, according to Mr Warner there were 646 board appointments under the PNM while there were 1,187 board appointments under the UNC coalition,” Ford said.“This represents a strangely dramatic increase in board appointments since the UNC coalition has not established any new state enterprise nor have they completed the appointments to existing boards.”

Ford did not deny Warner’s claims that the PNM had no Hindus in its Cabinet for 30 years right up to 1986. On Wednesday, Warner also said that after 1986, the PNM had cabinets in which the East Indian population was not proportionally represented. “The PNM wishes to further state that since its inception in 1956, the party has always been broad-based at both the party’s executive and the Parliament,” Ford said. “The PNM strongly condemns the UNC for its ethnic remarks and head-counting which is totally counter-productive in our social, political and economic development.”


"PNM: We have Hindus too"

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