‘WETTIN AFTER WETTIN'
By SEAN DOUGLAS Tuesday, October 15 2013
Crime Watch television host Ian Alleyne has vowed to deliver a political “wetting” to his opponents for the November 4 St Joseph bye-election as he yesterday filed his nomination form as the UNC candidate.
Even amid the campaign for local government, the bye-election kicked off to fill the seat left empty by the ejection of former MP Herbert Volney for crossing the floor of Parliament.
In an atmosphere of heady jubilation of music trucks, tassa-drums and dancing supporters, Alleyne upstaged his four rivals at yesterday’s filing of forms on Nomination Day at the Election and Boundaries Commission (EBC) sub-office for the constituency at the eTeck Building, 96 Aranjuez Main Road, Aranjuez.
With Alleyne came Environment Minister Ganga Singh and Attorney General Anand Ramlogan. The UNC is fielding the candidate for the bye-election in an agreement with its coalition partner the Congress of the People (COP).
The other candidates are Independent Liberal Party’s (ILP) Om Lalla; the People’s National Movement’s (PNM) Terrence Deyalsingh; the Democratic National Assembly’s (DNA) Michael Lopez and Independent candidate Errol Fabien (whose symbol is the heart). Fabien attended alone while Lopez came with campaign manager David Sheppard, a former Diego Martin PNM constituency chairman, plus DNA leader Dr Kirk Meighoo.
Lalla was accompanied by ILP leader Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner, who sneered that no other party leader had accompanied their candidate.
Deyalsingh was accompanied by his family, PNM PRO Faris Al-Rawi and PNM deputy leader Rohan Sinanan. The PNM did not bring supporters, unlike the UNC and especially the ILP which had rallied beforehand at a nearby park.
Undoubtably the star of the show was Alleyne, whose emergence from the EBC office after filing evoked rival reactions, with the UNC supporters loudly chanting, “Ian! Ian!”, while the ILP crowd aggressively shouted, “Sell out! Sell out!” At one stage a senior, khaki-clad police officer told the crowd to move from the premises, on the grounds it was also a polling station for special voters in the electoral district in next Monday’s local government elections.
The three hours from 10 am to 1 pm taken for candidates to show up and file their forms saw a constant blast of music, from a UNC music truck playing Crazy’s hit song, “PP”, plus two ILP music trucks playing, “She doesn’t have a jack” plus a deafening ILP tassa side.
Alleyne’s presence certainly caused a stir beyond that aroused by one’s usual candidate. As he emerged from the EBC office after filing his forms, supporters loudly cheered him in a steady chant, “Ian! Ian!”
“Ladies and gentlemen...Crime Watch goes on. I have decided...I have just indicated to Sabga and CNC 3 that I’m just taking 14 days off, just 14 days off. I’ve never taken a holiday, in years, but I’m taking 14 days off. And I’m leaving on top of the ball you understand? So just 14 days off, and I’ll be back. I’ll be back! I’m coming to settle a score, I’m coming to deal with the criminals and listen to me, I’m coming to mash up.”
Why run for St Joseph?
He replied, “I’m taking the fight of crime to a different level.”
However even as he spoke, ILP supporters tried to shout him down, chanting, “Sell out! Sell out!” At that the UNC’s supporters raised their voices chanting, “Ian! Ian!” He said he would address the “sell out” claims at a UNC rally last night in Fybabad. “I’m not going to get into a shouting match and a shouting game, with my colleagues.”
Asked about his rivals, Alleyne said, “I know them well. It will be the truth against lies.” He said it is Lalla’s democratic right to support a particular party. He vowed to go for truth and to tell the nation all. Alleyne declined to explain why he had joined the People’s Partnership after having bashed them for three years, vowing to tell all last night at a UNC rally. “Don’t hot up your head!” he said, in trademark motto. “Why you ‘hotting’ up your head”.
Drawing on another of his Crime Watch catch phrases, Alleyne vowed that in St Joseph he would deliver “wetting after wetting” to his rivals.
Lopez, of the DNA, declined to say much to reporters, simply giving his name, stating the DNA is the best party and promising to say more later on.
Deyalsingh firstly disclosed he was no longer a PNM senator.
“First of all I am no longer a Senator. My appointment has been revoked, so I can run for the Lower House. I’m now ‘Candidate Deyalsingh’. We have filed - I am so happy, so elated - to really get down to do the groundwork now, so we can win this seat and bring back a sense of calm and decency to St Joseph.” He said his filing had been “positive”. He was unfazed by reporters’ focus on Alleyne and Lalla.
“I am focussed on my campaign, on what I have to do and what the party has to do, to give St Joseph good representation,” said Deyalsingh. “Whoever the opponent is, I welcome them. My campaign has been planned, we have a strategy and we are going forward from today.”
Brushing off queries about other nominees, Deyalsingh said, “This is an opportunity to bring back decency to St Joseph which has been traumatised by the antics, utterances and behaviour of their past Member of Parliament. I’m only focussed on what I have to do. I’m going to run a decent campaign, based on morality, ethics and my personal characteristics. I’m also going to bring PNM policy to bear on the campaign.”
For Lalla the moment was “exciting”. “I think it’s going to be an election to watch, a bye-election that’s never been seen before. It’s a very short race - 20 days from today. I think we are going to see a foundation being laid for the next general election, in terms of how campaigns are conducted - what is done, what is said and how people vote,” he said.
“I don’t think any political pundit could ‘call’ the (bye) election right now, although I feel quite confident I could walk away with the victory. It’s going to be intense and exciting. We are going to re-define bye-elections by this election.”
Reporters asked about his interaction in the EBC office with Alleyne, on whose Crime Watch show Lalla had been a frequent guest. He said it had been “very cordial” amongst all five candidates. “I greeted all the candidates and there’s been cordiality among everybody.”
As for Alleyne’s eligibility, his former attorney, Lalla, said, “The legal position is that unless you are convicted and serve a sentence, you are able to contest.”
Asked about Alleyne being the UNC candidate, Lalla said, “Well the point is that it is freedom of choice. He’s taken a decision and I’ve taken a decision also. My decision, mind you, was first.” Of his biggest threat, Lalla said, “I think this fight is really between the ILP and the PNM. With the greatest respect to Ian, I think they are third runner in this and it’s a close fight between candidate Deyalsingh and myself.”
Will people vote party or personality? “I think they’re going to vote for both,” said Lalla.
“The issues are not mauvais langue and bacchanal but what is going to be delivered for the people of St Joseph, and what I as a representative could deliver to empower the people.”
ILP supporters cheered.
Independent nominee Errol Fabien said he was running a campaign without all the resources such as music trucks available to his rival party-candidates.
“I can’t afford the money to get the big trucks to deafen the people into voting for me,” quipped Fabien. “And I have no intention of trying to do it with the high-gloss paper and that thing. No, I’m going to meet the people, knock on doors and ask them for their vote.”