Saying he was selling the rumour just as he bought it, People's National Movement (PNM) leader Dr Keith Rowley said on Tuesday he had heard Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had plans to be the country's next President.
"I am selling it as I buy it, I am not making one cent profit. My understanding is, and I am calling on the Prime Minister to tell me that I am wrong, my information is that the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago has an interest in the presidency of Trinidad and Tobago," he said.
Rowley made the statement at the PNM's rally in Arima on Tuesday night to a disbelieving crowd.
The statement was first met by stunned silence, quickly followed by a chorus of boos and other negative remarks.
"Apparently, the Prime Minister is of the view that the President have no work to do and is a work where you party, sleep late and make speeches, eat and drink. That is their idea of the presidency," he said.
"I am asking my colleague from Siparia to tell the people of Trinidad and Tobago if she harbours that ambition. We want to know now," he said.
Rowley said with Persad-Bissessar sitting as President, the path would be clear for acting Prime Minister, National Security Minister Jack Warner, to become the next official full-time PM.
"They are conditioning us to accept her replacement and that is why tonight (Tuesday) in one speech, you hear the man mention four times 'I am acting Prime Minister'", Rowley said.
"That is subliminal mind conditioning," he said.
Rowley said with Warner as the head of State, our international business relationships would suffer.
"Those who make decisions to invest in Trinidad and Tobago, make those decisions in board rooms in Washington, in New York, (USA) in London, (England) in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and elsewhere and I want to ask you a question tonight. How many of those board members would be excited to invest in a country where Jack Warner is the Prime Minister?" he asked.
Rowley said while the country would continue to joke about it, it was a serious business.
He said much has been said about the fact that he did not visit former PNM leader Patrick Manning upon his return last week, after seeking treatment in the United States, but that he already has plans to meet with the former Prime Minister by this weekend. Manning returned on July 31 after seeking treatment at a Washington DC hospital. Manning suffered a stroke on January 23.
"Patrick Manning and I go back almost 40 years and I don't need anybody to tell me when and where to go and see him," he said.
Rowley dismissed Warner's statements that former Prime Minister Arthur NR Robinson praised Warner's work in the Ministry.
"I wasn't there, but now Prime Minister Jack is sending you the signal that he has Mr Robinson's endorsement for his position and that is the same Mr Robinson who moved the motion in the Parliament for the Parliament to adopt the Code of Ethics which Mr Warner openly violated as head of FIFA," he said.
The Code of Ethics does not carry the force of law, but holds politicians morally responsible and accountable for their actions by the voting public.
"When did Mr Robinson lose his faculties? " he asked.
Rowley said this too was part of the plan to "subliminally change the standards and values" of the citizens to accept Warner.
"When there is a strong call for him not to be in the Cabinet, she (Persad-Bissessar) has the gall to make him acting Prime Minister, telling the people of Trinidad and Tobago that you can go to hell, and has the gall to tell you, you must support him," he said.
"But I want to say to the Prime Minister that we stand for morality in public affairs and Jack Warner does not represent us," he said.
Rowley also took Congress of the People leader Prakash Ramadhar to task for his continued silence on key matters of Governance and the new property tax proposal.
"They are now more concerned with holding office and position," he said.