Bas: Kamla can’t put back Jack
By Anna Ramdass firstname.lastname@example.org
Story Created: May 1, 2013 at 9:54 PM ECT
(Story Updated: May 1, 2013 at 10:55 PM ECT )
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar would be contradicting herself if she allows former Government minister Jack Warner to contest the Chaguanas West by-election.
Former prime minister and ex-leader of the United National Congress (UNC) Basdeo Panday, speaking with the Express by phone yesterday, said that he could not see how Persad-Bissessar and the party could agree to Warner running for the seat as he has not yet cleared his name.
Persad-Bissessar and the UNC executive are scheduled to meet today at Rienzi Complex, Couva to discuss the issue.
Panday noted that the Prime Minister accepted Warner’s resignation following a Concacaf Integrity Committee report which found that he was fraudulent in his management of the entity during his presidency.
Warner’s move to resign as the Chaguanas West MP, said Panday, was a game of distraction.
“It seems to me that what he’s (Warner) trying to do really is to divert attention away from all these allegations that are being made against him, but the party is in a quandary because as far as I am aware from reading the papers the political leader has said she accepted his resignation because of the Concacaf report,” said Panday.
“If that is the case I don’t know how she can agree that he contest the by-election on a UNC ticket, I think that will be a contradiction if they do that,” he added.
Questioned on whether he believes the people of Chaguanas West would be loyal to party or to person, Panday said the electorate will soon decide.
However, he noted that when Warner received an overwhelming 19,000 votes in the 2010 general election, the people voted for party.
“They certainly were loyal to party because at that time Warner was not very well known either for good or bad,” said Panday.
Panday said he did not think that Warner has enough support to re-win the seat.
“What Mr Warner has around him is a group that feeds off his trough and those are the people who always come out and rally around and so on. I don’t know if that is enough to win an election, I don’t think so,” said Panday.
The Chaguanas West seat, said Panday, will be one to watch.
“The PNM will be putting up somebody, there will be independents, Chaguanas West has been a very volatile seat really and its composition has changed a lot over the years and anything can happen in Chaguanas,” said Panday.
He added that it was clear that the Prime Minister recognised that this country’s reputation was being damaged internationally and nationally over the continuous negative reports with respect to Warner’s tenure as Concacaf president and FIFA vice-president.
The Express understands that the UNC was looking at other candidates who can put up a fight against Warner to reclaim the seat.
Questioned on whether his daughter Mickela, former Oropouche West MP, was contacted, Panday said he was not aware and as far as he was concerned she is a “fiercely independent young woman who will make her own decisions”.