His entry to Parliamentary politics had been as a PNM Opposition Senator, in 1990, following on the untimely death of late PNM Senator, Leo des Vignes, one of the first casualties of the July 29, 1990 failed attempted coup. An Inquiry into the coup is underway.
Valley was elected to the House of Representatives as the Member for Diego Martin Central, winning the seat in 1991, 1995, 2000, 2001 and 2002 serving with distinction as members of his constituency and indeed even members of the Opposition would attest. Unfortunately, there was an unexplained falling out between Valley and then Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and PNM Political Leader, Patrick Manning, in 2007 which led to his not being chosen to represent Diego Martin Central in the 2007 General Election.
In the period 1995 to 2000, as a result of Manning having called the first of two early general elections and lost, Valley would serve as Chief Opposition Whip. He would continue in that post for an additional year when the PNM suffered another defeat in 2000.
Of interest is that the general election, which had been upstaged by the 1995 snap general election, had been constitutionally due on April 12, 1997. But this meant that Valley’s already distinguished career as a Cabinet Minister which had begun to bloom was abruptly interrupted.
He had served as Minister of Local Government, Minister of Trade and Industry and Minister in the Ministry of Finance before his non-selection for Diego Martin Central in 2007 put an end to his being an active politician and Minister.
A former student of the University of the West Indies Valley had obtained the Bachelor of Economics Degree there, majoring in Accounting. He would later obtain his Masters in Business Administration from McMasters University in Canada. His heading of the Planning Division had prepared him for his later Cabinet assignment as Minister of Trade and Industry. Valley understood that for Trinidad and Tobago to achieve its fullest potential, it could not continue to rely almost wholly on energy and energy based industries.
And at a time, when Trinidad and Tobago was beginning to actively seek being the Financial Capital of the Southern Caribbean, his was a broadened vision which would, even as it was clearly necessary for the nation’s energy base to be expanded, see a deepening of trading links with countries across the globe. While we wish to make it clear that we are in no way seeking to downgrade the contributions of any Minister since the introduction of Cabinet status in 1956, nonetheless Valley’s specific University training was an undoubted plus in his negotiations with world leaders of trade.
As such he was able to expand the exports of Trinidad and Tobago’s goods and services both internationally and regionally. This would earn the country increased revenue, foreign exchange, corporation tax and value added tax as well as a growth in employment opportunities.
While, admittedly, a great deal of credit for public sector initiated growth should be given to public servants who have to work out the details and prepare papers, nevertheless, Valley because of his commitment, work experience and drive was able to achieve much for his country. Unfortunately, the abrupt severing of his Ministerial ties would put a sudden end to all of this. Almost coincidentally, there would be the international financial crisis which would negatively impact on what his work had held out for the country.
Newsday publicly salutes Ken Valley and extends its heartfelt sympathy to his family.