Congress of the People (COP) vice-chairman Vernon De Lima's motion to have National Security Minister Jack Warner removed from Cabinet failed by majority vote yesterday.
"I lost the vote, so we will see what happens," De Lima said as he left COP headquarters in Charlieville, Chaguanas. He departed soon after the motion failed and did not stay for COP leader Prakash Ramadhar's closing remarks.
Last week, De Lima moved the motion to have Warner removed from Cabinet but also threatened that the COP would "dissociate" itself from the People's Partnership Government if he was not. De Lima also threatened to leave the COP if he failed in this bid.
But yesterday, faced with a 91-6 vote against his motion, De Lima said he remained a COP member "at this point".
Despite the failure of that motion, an amendment to De Lima's motion was passed that also called for Warner's removal from Cabinet, but without the ultimatum of the COP's departure.
Ramadhar said despite the fissure created by the motion, De Lima remained a "treasured member" of the COP.
"The motion having been defeated, he made public pronouncements. Unfortunately he had an emergency and he had to leave before I had a chance to chat with him to know what would be his position now that the motion vote has been against him," he said.
Ramadhar said while no disciplinary action would be brought against De Lima for filing a private motion under the party's name, the internal party election is on October 28 and De Lima's vice-chairmanship position would be put to a vote.
"I think that discipline comes in many forms and there are internal elections coming up next month and people will exercise their own level of discipline," he said.
"We think the moral strength of the argument is strong and as such we expect the Prime Minister to act in accordance with what is best for Trinidad and Tobago.
"We have also asked in that motion for the police to conclude as speedily as is possible any criminal investigations in relation to that Minister. So we can have a final resolution in relation to any criminal charges or not on this. It is fair to all to have a final and quick determination on this issue," said Ramadhar.
"I have to take responsibility for the party and when the party did not authorise a motion and it was put in the public space as a COP motion... It was Mr De Lima's motion and we had to set that record clear."
Ramadhar ended all speculation that the COP would ever leave the People's Partnership Government.
"We are staying because we promised the people of Trinidad and Tobago certain things which we have not yet delivered on and which we are working on delivering. It would be an abdication of that trust that they gave to all of us, especially the COP."
Ramadhar said he was voted in for five years and will not "destabilise" the country by threatening to leave pending Warner's Cabinet position.
"We have to appreciate that the Government was voted in by a majority of persons, we have to respect that and we will not abdicate our responsibility to the population any time before that period," he said.
In response to the failed motion and the new amendment, Warner, in a telephone interview, would only say: "That is COP's business, not my business."