Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said there will be no negotiations with the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) to gain control of the Chaguanas Borough Corporation, as her Government will not support criminals.
“I am of the firm view there should never be negotiations with criminals, and so I will not negotiate with any party which supports criminals,” Persad-Bissessar stated, via text, to the Express in response to a question on whether the People’s Partnership would negotiate with the ILP with respect to the Chaguanas Borough Corporation.
The results of the local government elections for the Chaguanas Borough Corporation on Monday ended in a stalemate, with the United National Congress (UNC) winning three electoral districts, the People’s National Movement (PNM) securing three and the ILP taking two.
During the election campaign, Government ministers such as Dr Roodal Moonilal and Attorney General Anand Ramlogan had urged citizens against voting for the ILP and alleged the party had a number of criminals who were running as candidates.
Meanwhile, the two ILP councillors who were victorious in winning their electoral districts in the Chaguanas Borough Corporation yesterday declared they will not be wooed to cross the floor.
ILP interim leader Jack Warner, who is also Chaguanas West MP, told the Express there were efforts to persuade both councillors to jump the ILP ship.
Warner yesterday met with incoming councillors Faaiq Mohammed, who won the electoral district of Charlieville, and Simeon Mahabir, who won Munroe Road/Caroni Savannah Road.
Via teleconferencing, the Express spoke to the councillors together with Warner yesterday. They both pledged to remain with the ILP and follow party directive.
Mohammed said, “At the end of the day, the people are the ones who voted for us, and we are committed to provide a service to them. Whatever representation they have been lacking, we as young people have to fill that, we have to go out there and work for them and work together for them. We will provide the people with what they need. They are the ones who put us here.”
Mahabir shared the same sentiment, saying “we are elected to represent our districts and meet the need of the people. We will work to get it done... the ILP has a leader and we will go by the party’s directive”.
Warner said he was waiting to see how “two established parties” behave when it comes to the appointment of a new Chaguanas mayor and the aldermen. “They will be guided by the party’s directive. I have nothing to say as yet. I am just watching the games which people play,” he said.
Warner said the ILP will serve the people of Chaguanas and throughout the country, pointing out the party, which was just four months old, was able to garner 60,000-plus votes. “I got a mere 20,000 votes less than the Government. Now that the ILP has a turning in almost every corporation in the country, especially in the corridor,” said Warner.
Preliminary results of the election showed the ILP received over 62,000 votes, the UNC got 84,000 votes, while the PNM bagged 116,000 votes. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said the UNC did not lose, as the party was able to maintain its base in winning five of the corporations.
“I think the Prime Minister’s boast of the UNC maintaining its base is an insult to the People’s Partnership. For the Prime Minister to go on a platform and say that the UNC has retained its base when she is in a partnership has sent some dangerous signals to the corridor,” Warner said.
“Having lost six of 11 corporations and to go on a platform to celebrate that the UNC has kept its base is an insult to the entire East-West Corridor and all that it had stood for in the last three years,” Warner added.
The COP, he said, was “finished”.
“They (COP) refused to take a stand on issues when the country was begging them. They chose the glamour of office as opposed to standing up on issue, and they have paid a price for that,” he said.
Questioned on talks with respect to partnering with the UNC in the Chaguanas Borough Corporation, Warner had told the media on Monday night he would not make an advance. “During the Chaguanas by-election, I made two offers to join the People’s Partnership and on both occasions I was rejected publicly and humiliated. As such therefore, I have no intention of making a third,” he said.
Warner said the ILP was a force to be reckoned with and no party can form the government in 2015 without its support. He said by the end of November, the ILP will formalise its constitution and hold its elections.
“The ILP has proven itself to be better than COP, MSJ, TOP and NJAC,” said Warner.