The ball is now in the People’s National Movement La Brea executive’s court and they’ll be guided by their principles on what they feel is best for the constituency, says former minister Robert Le Hunte.
This was his position yesterday after the PNM’s screening team made it clear on Wednesday that he’s out as a La Brea nominee and the unit has to seek more nominees.
The La Brea unit had supported Le Hunte’s nomination even after he was rejected last week. The unit, which had obtained four nominees, met with PNM leadership on Wednesday when they were again told to seek new nominees.
Yesterday, PNM general secretary Foster Cummings said La Brea has to get new candidates On Le Hunte, he said the position didn’t have to do with a particular candidate.
However, he said if Le Hunte wants to assist a candidate in any way it was up to him to decide “whatever role he wants to play.” “Robert is PNM’s vice chairman, I imagine he’ll be involved in party activity in some ways,” Cummings said.
Cummings couldn’t detail Wednesday’s deliberations with the executive but maintained the issue isn’t a problem for the PNM.
“We had talks with the constituency, they’re making all preparations to complete the process and preparing for election – there’s no issue,” he said.
But yesterday, it appeared Le Hunte – who resigned from Cabinet over policy conflict – hasn’t given up. He said he’d noted all the commentary on the issue and based on his reading, the ball’s now in the executive’s court.
“The PNM’s down this road numerous times, I expect this isn’t the last. On all occasions, they’ve come through. There’s an old saying, it’s not over until it’s over,” Le Hunte told the T&T Guardian.
Yesterday, La Brea executive chairman Wayne Wood was meeting with the executive to report on Wednesday’s meeting with the leadership and determine where they stand, since Le Hunte still has support within the executive.
Wood said since the unit was mandated to expand its search there’s been good interest and people are coming forward – but no nomination letters have been presented yet.
On whether he’d say Le Hunte was out, Wood said, “The process is you have nominations and voting, plus recommendations. When party groups meet next week and based on what they say, we’ll determine by Wednesday what happens. To say anything before that is premature.
“I shouldn’t be saying that someone is in or out – it’s premature, the process isn’t completed. It will be completed when the party decides on a candidate. We’re following the instructions for wider search.”
Some of Le Hunte’s La Brea supporters said they feared the long process would cause party groups to take “what they get instead of getting what they want.”
PNM sources said La Brea’s unit had wanted Wednesday’s meeting to discuss the matter with the leadership. They said while La Brea representatives spoke about their choice of Le Hunte, the leadership “said its piece… and it’s clear Le Hunte isn’t an option … the recent conflict in Cabinet involving Le Hunte was pointed out to the unit.”