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Lyndira to lead ILP

By Clint Chan Tack Monday, June 9 2014

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New ILP team: Some of the members of the unopposed slate of chairman designate Jack Warner and political leader designate Lyndira Oudit after filing t...
New ILP team: Some of the members of the unopposed slate of chairman designate Jack Warner and political leader designate Lyndira Oudit after filing t...

FORMER Senate Vice-President Lyndira Oudit will be the first permanent political leader of the year-old Independent Liberal Party (ILP). Party founder Jack Warner, who served as interim leader when the party was born last July when he was re-elected as Chaguanas West in that constituency’s bye-election, will be the party’s first permanent chairman.

After filing her nomination papers at the party’s headquarters on Edward Street, Port-of-Spain yesterday, Oudit hinted the ILP would be prepared to undertake full scale alliance talks with the Congress of the People (COP), if COP San Fernando West MP Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan defeats incumbent COP leader Prakash Ramadhar in that party’s internal election on June 29. Oudit also hinted the ILP would not be closed to an alliance with the United National Congress (UNC). However she said the UNC needed to be “sanitised” before the ILP even considers any negotiations with it.

The ILP’s internal election is also scheduled to take place on June 29. However with the slate led by Warner and Oudit being the only candidates offering themselves to fill the 12 posts on the ILP executive, the election committee formed to oversee the election simply needs to meet to confirm them as the new executive.

“Me accepting the nomination for political leader was as a result of considerable thought into the direction that we want the party to head into especially coming into 2015 but also beyond. It opens new doors,” Oudit told Newsday. While some persons might question the effectiveness of women as party political leaders, Oudit said, “Leadership is not a gender thing. I can offer my track record. I can offer positions I have taken in the past, very public ones I might add.”

Describing her integrity, credibility and forward thinking as some of her assets, Oudit said, “The population is very much assured and politically savvy to know the kinds of leaders that they don’t want.” Declaring that she is “definitely ready” to offer herself as a prime ministerial candidate, Oudit said, “I believe very firmly in the future of this country in a real and tangible sense.” She lamented that the country has paid a “tremendous price” for poor governance.

Agreeing with Oudit, Warner said, “If the Prime Minister is a poor leader, it does not necessarily follow that every other woman is a poor leader.”Warner said the reason he decided to let Oudit stand for political leader and to contest the post of chairman had nothing to do with allegations that have been made against him. “Before you were born those allegations have been there. They will be there after I die. It does not mean I have to run from it,” he said.

Stating the ILP “ has to put a credible face” to contest the next general election and build its political stocks, Warner noted he is 72 years old now. “ If I croak tomorrow, the party must not die. In Miss Oudit, I found a credible person to pick up the mantle and carry on,” he said.

Saying the ILP remains committed to the principle of coalition politics, Oudit said the party is prepared to talk alliance with the UNC once it is “a little sanitised.” “We have spoken strongly as a party about certain individuals in government and out of government but more so in government.” Asked to identify those individuals, she replied, “Read the Sunshine (newspaper).”

Stating the ILP applauded Congress of the People’s (COP) chairman Carolyn Seepersad- Bachan’s decision to challenge Ramadhar for the COP’s leadership and COP founder Winston Dookeran offering himself as chairman, Oudit did not rule out alliance talks with a COP led by Seepersad-Bachan.

Describing the People’s National Movement’s (PNM) as a “stand alone” party and noting ongoing alliance talks with the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), Oudit said the ILP will be looking at those political parties which it could form an alliance with. However she said, “Each party has to be sanitised to some extent. We do not believe as a party that we should simply prepare just to win an election.” She said what happened when the People’s Partnership was formed in 2010 and “no thought was given as to what would happen after 2010.”

“We do not intend to repeat the mistakes of the past,” Oudit said. Warner did not rule out an alliance with the PNM but agreed this was not on the cards at this time.

In a statement before his slate filed their nomination papers, Warner said while he did not specifically call on some persons to be members of his slate, they should not “consider it as a rejection of any kind but merely as a postponement to a higher level of service and involvement.” “ However nothing prevents any member from still offering himself or herself either on another slate or even as an individual candidate. This is the essence of democracy,” he said.

Regarding those persons who he approached but declined to join his slate “for one reason or the other,” Warner said, “ I do wish to advise you that I hold no bitterness or disappointment of any kind for I do know that your contribution to this party will never be lost and for that I will be forever grateful.”

Attorney Anna Deonarine, who was an interim ILP deputy leader and a key figure in last July’s Chaguanas West bye-election, did not stand for election. Former COP founding member Rekha Ramjit, Dr Lena Brereton-Wolfe and Joseph Mendes were the three deputy leader candidates on Warner’s slate.

The rest of the slate was Rosanna Sookdeo (deputy chairman); Ricardo Lee Sing (education and training officer); Amarnath Jagassar (elections officer); Janelle Sebastien (gender affairs officer); Dominic Romain (party organiser); Dayne Francois (policy and strategy officer) and Danan Singh (public relations officer).

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