Hundreds brave sun to support PM
Keino Swamber email@example.com
HUNDREDS dressed in yellow and white showed up at the International Waterfront Centre in Port of Spain yesterday in a show of support for the People’s Partnership Government prior to the start of the debate on the motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
There was no similar visible outpouring of support, however, for the Opposition People’s National Movement.
Several maxi-taxis, vans and private buses brought those bearing United National Congress (UNC) and Congress of the People (COP) flags and deposited them just outside Tower D, where Parliament sits.
The reasons for them being there, they said, ranged from their love for Persad-Bissessar and the work she has done as Prime Minister, to being allegedly told by supervisors of the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) and Community-based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP) that they had to be there.
Most of the Government Members of Parliament were seen meeting and greeting those who braved the blazing sun.
These included St Joseph MP Herbert Volney, Oropouche South MP Stacy Roopnarine, Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal, Caroni Central MP Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh, Cumuto/Manzanilla MP Collin Partap and Chaguanas East MP Stephen Cadiz.
Volney, who seemed to be enjoying the moment, even led a cheering session with people shouting, “Ole!”
A small group, dressed in Spiritual Baptist garb, appeared on the scene with a drum and began singing religious choruses while awaiting Persad-Bissessar’s arrival.
Shortly after 1 p.m., Persad-Bissessar arrived to loud cheers and an honour guard of sorts comprised of Government Ministers. Dressed in red and black, Persad-Bissessar exited her car, approached her supporters and shook the hands of the several people as she walked. “We love Kamla,” they shouted.
MP for Chaguanas West Jack Warner arrived shortly after and conducted a brief news conference to announce his candidacy to retain the position of chairman in the upcoming UNC internal elections.
He quickly made his way inside while Persad-Bissessar continued shaking hands. Her final act before going into the Parliament building was to stand on the steps, wave to the crowd, give a “peace” sign and a thumbs-up.
To members of the media, Persad-Bissessar said she was confident Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley would be vanquished at the end of the debate.
She said the motion of no confidence is not simply about the votes in Parliament, but about the power of the people.
“We are in this Parliament only because of the people and therefore the confidence has to come from the people,” Persad-Bissessar said.
“I think we have demonstrated this week, contrary to the views of some of our detractors, that there is tremendous support in the country for the People’s Partnership. It appeared as though it was an election campaign. People were just coming out in their thousands.”
Persad-Bissessar said the momentum gained over the past few days will take the Partnership into May 24 when it will celebrate its second year in governance.
“I expect that May 24 rally to be one of the largest ever we have seen,” she said.