By RICHARDSON DHALAI Monday, July 8 2013
A RESOUNDING and emphatic no!
This was the response from United National Congress (UNC) political leader and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar when she was asked last night if she would consider allowing her former party and government lieutenant Jack Warner, to come back into the People’s Partnership coalition.
Last Friday night, before a crowd of thousands of jubilant supporters, Warner launched the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) — the vehicle by which he would contest the July 29 Chaguanas West bye-election — after being overlooked by the UNC which picked Khadijah Ameen, as its candidate for that election.
During his hour-long feature address, Warner told supporters at the Pierre Road Recreation Ground, Charlieville, Chaguanas, that following the July 29 bye-election, he intends to write to the leaders of the People’s Partnership seeking membership for the ILP.
Warner expressed confidence that he would be welcomed back into the Partnership with open arms albeit not as a UNC member but as the leader of the ILP. He vowed not to team up with the Opposition People’s National Movement (PNM)
But with one word — “NO!” — the Prime Minister effectively put paid to Warner’s hopes and ambitions of returning to the People’s Partnership. It was with a bit of irony that the Prime Minister chose to speak publicly for the first time on Warner’s new party, at the same venue where that party was launched last Friday.
The Prime Minister engaged in a walkabout in Charlieville yesterday as she sought to drum up support among residents for the UNC’s candidate for the bye-election, Khadijah Ameen. The prime minister was accompanied on the walk yesterday by several government ministers including Dr Roodal Moonilal (Housing Minister), Dr Tim Gopeesingh (Education Minister), Marlene Coudray (Youth and Gender Affairs), Ramona Ramdial, Rudy Indarsingh, Stacy Roopnarine and others. Ameen was also present, walking side by side with the Prime Minister.
As the Prime Minister walked passed the recreation ground, where Warner launched his party last Friday, Newsday asked her several questions.
“Madam Prime Minister, what is your opinion on Jack Warner’s new party contesting the Local Government Election?” Newsday asked. “It is a free and open country and people are free to do what they want,” Persad-Bissessar said.
“Madam Prime Minister, would you after the bye-election, give any consideration to allowing Mr Warner and his ILP party into the folds of the People’s Partnership coalition government,” Newsday asked. “No!” was her brief but resounding reply.
“At my age and with my experience in life and politics, I have learned to expect anything from any and everyone. I continue to stay strong and focused. We will win Chaguanas West and we will move on and go forward to win the Local Government Election,” Persad-Bissessar told Newsday.
Asked one more time, if the possibility...any possibility exists for Warner to return to the People’s Partnership, her response again was brief but to the point: “No!”
During the walkabout, Persad-Bissessar handed out cups, calendars and yellow t-shirts with Ameen’s image on the front. The Prime Minister walked a road that was lined on both sides with green flags — the colour of Warner’s ILP party. While some residents refused to come out and greet the Prime Minister, the majority did, shaking her hands and accepting her gifts.
The Prime Minister also greeted several Central Division police officers including Supt Johnny Abraham, congratulating him on his good work and urging him and other officers to “keep up the good work”.