What Valley says
Kenneth Valley alleges that PNM political leader PM Patrick Manning is demonstrating a “dictatorial attitude.”
He speaks of guarding against Manning getting a special majority “that will allow for the executive presidency through the back door.”
He promises to help Dr Amery Browne win the Diego Martin Central seat
BY GAIL ALEXANDER
Outgoing People’s National Movement (PNM) Diego Martin Central MP Kenneth Valley is concerned that the political leader of his party, Patrick Manning, is demonstrating a “dictatorial attitude.”
In his first candid interview since his rejection and the PNM’s central executive approved Manning’s recommendation of Dr Amery Browne as the candidate for Diego Martin Central, Valley said he had no row with Manning, and did not know what had caused the situation.
He said he had not discussed it with Manning beyond the initial issue of the PNM’s Bill Johnson performance poll. Valley said:
“I paid no mind to such polls. Mr Manning knows my capacity for work at the constituency level and the national level. So there was no deep discussion on the issue.
“He wanted to offer alternatives, and I said I would not negotiate for my seat—I would be an MP or out of office. And that was the last of it.”
Asked to explain his statement about forces binding together, Valley replied:
“I said that everyone has an obligation to be guided by one’s conscience, and if you see what is happening and you have an interest in the country in doing what you think is right, then you have a duty to take a stand.
“I am saying that if you perceive action that is dictatorial, and if you think that someone is hoping to be executive president, you have to ask if you want a constitutional dictator and you have to make that decision.
“Everyone has to decide. Therefore, I’m saying that persons with good principles ought to do what is required in the situation to deal with it.”
Asked if he was referring to Manning’s proposals for an executive president, Valley replied:
“You can draw your own conclusions.” He added:
“The PNM has been, or is, an excellent party. It has done much good for T&T, and if I could make a distinction between the PNM and the current political leader, I would have.
“While I support the PNM to win elections, we need to guard against a special majority that will allow for the executive presidency through the back door.”
Valley recalled that when he resigned as deputy leader in 1998—when he had a disagreement with Manning—he had said then that he would not work with someone who demonstrated a dictatorial atitude.
“After a five-hour meeting then, I thought we had agreed on a course of action. But now it is glaring that the gentleman is going down that road and I am seeing clearly, now, his intent.
“When you consider that it is the political leader alone who determines the 41candidates, and when you consider that as Prime Minister he will make the 16 senatorial appointments in a government; couple that with if he gets 32 seats he will go for an executive presidency...Understand what that means!
“That is my concern. There are some who would say it is a case of sour grapes. I could have done like others and shut my mouth and be a senator or an ambassador, since alternatives to being an MP were offered.
“But this is a fundamental principle, and while I say I love my party and I am loyal to the PNM, I love my country more.”
Valley said he had nothing personal against Manning, “but he has taken certain actions which show certain traits that are not in the best interest of my country.
“I have taken a position that while in some ways he has done extremely well for T&T, I think he has demonstrated that his actions are clearly not in the best interests of T&T.
“Without his approval, none of the 41 candidates would have gotten their seats. It didn’t seem to matter what the party groups or constituencies wanted.”
Asked if Manning’s action was high-handed, Valley continued:
“You have to draw your own conclusions. I was unopposed at the constituency level. I got the support of the executive and the majority of the members of the screening committee.
“It was the political leader, using his veto power, that opposed me and that stopped me from representing my constituency.
“The letter of the law gives him that veto power. But whether it was in keeping with the spirit of the law and the PNM constitution and whether it respected the democracy the party is known for, is another thing.”
Valley said after he presented his case to PNM’s central executive last Friday, he asked the members to make a decision on the type of party they wanted.
He admitted that he was surprised that the central executive decided in favour of the political leader’s recommendations instead of his.
“But one can understand it, since I understand that the political leader had told them ‘if we backed down on the issue’ he ‘could as well go home.'”
Valley dismissed allegations that a $2-million gambling debt which he incurred had to be paid by a contracting company.
“That’s a smear campaign that comes out of the woodwork in times like this. It is an evil part of the party I’d like to see exterminated, but until that time we’ll have to live with it.
“They can’t understand when an individual stands on principle.
“The PNM, for me, is still the best party in T&T. We’ve done very well in 50 years. From time to time we’ve had individuals that have tried to subvert the party’s good intentions.
“Dr (Eric) Williams faced a similar situation in 1976, but his actions were quite different.”
Valley said he would remain with the PNM.
“I hope to bring closure to this. I have done what I feel I had an obligation to do...bring it to the national community and let the people make their own decision.
“There’s nothing more for me to do on this issue at this time.”
And the public won’t see Valley on a COP or UNC platform for this election campaign, he assured.
Valley to help Browne win seat
Valley made it clear he had no intention of leaving the PNM and that he intended to assist PNM Diego Martin Central candidate Dr Amery Browne to keep the seat in the PNM.
Valley said Browne had been seeking a meeting with him and that he agreed to meet with him tomorrow to help him win the seat.
“I intend to assist Dr Browne with the campaign and as of November 5, I become citizen Ken.
“I’ll do my bit to ensure that the legacy I worked hard for in Diego Martin Central will not be destroyed. I’ve done soul- searching...I’ve worked hard in my seat for 17 years and we have unfinished business.
“Dr Browne has done me nothing. I have no fight with him. Therefore, I’ll provide him with the support to keep the seat in the loving hands of the PNM.
“After 17 years, I have to take care of the people I represented. They have nothing to do with my feelings or the principled stand I feel I must take with respect to the actions of the political leader.”
Valley said he’d met key members of his executive yesterday, and asked everyone to pull together.
Asked about plans for his future—political or otherwise—Valley said he would be 60 on February 8th.
“While I thought I would have served another five years, they have now given me five years to pursue a new career—whatever that will be.”
As for his tenure as deputy leader, Valley said the political leader could terminate that appointment at any time.
After yesterday, he said, he was finished saying any more on the issue.
I saying this all the fockin time, but no fockin body will listen.
Now it comes from the fockin horses "well apes" mouth.
Patos is ah fockin dictator.