Friday, January 19, 2018

PM changes tune on Warner

Kamla pays tribute to former MP for resurgence of UNC


Mark Fraser

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said she was in a state of anguish over the circumstances surrounding former chairman of the United National Congress (UNC) Jack Warner and the lead-up to the Chaguanas West by-election.

During her last Monday night forum at Vishnu Boys Hindu School in Caroni, Per­sad-Bissessar pulled no punches as she said she couldn’t saddle the people of Chaguanas West with Warner because he had too many controversies hanging over his head. 

She said he refused to travel overseas and his problems with FIFA and the “Flying Squad”, as well as the fact that he admitted to her that both he and his family were under investigation by the US government.

But speaking at the UNC public meeting at ASJA Girls’ in Charlieville on Friday night, Persad-Bissessar paid tribute to Warner for his contribution, along with others, to the resurgence of the UNC.

“High on that list, and he will remain high on that list regardless of whatever circumstance we encounter, is the name of Austin Jack Warner,” she said. 

With regard to not choosing Warner as the candidate for the Chaguanas West seat, Persad-Bissessar said she had “no quarrel with him” and merely gave supporters information she felt was relevant to help them make their choice in this election. 

She added that following Warner’s resignation from the seat and the chairmanship, there was a perception the party had turned its back on Warner. 

“Let me tell each and every one of you, no one, absolutely no one, would understand the anguish I have experienced over this entire matter.”

She said, “No one is conscious of the contribution and sacrifice made by so many persons towards the resurgence of our great party,” she said, adding Warner was high on the list. 

Persad-Bissessar reminded that even as he faced scrutiny, she had “entrusted the critical responsibility of National Security  to Mr Warner...such was the faith and trust I had in him.”

She said the by-election was not of her making but that “destiny” had conspired to bring things to this point. 

“The (election) is in your hand,” Persad-Bissessar said.