Gloomy skies and unpredictable weather did not stop the intrepid souls who walked, taxied and maxi-taxied their way to the soggy Marchin Recreation Ground, Jerningham Junction, Cunupia ground on Friday night to listen to interim leader of the newly formed Independent Liberal Party (ILP), Jack warner.
One could not see the source but eager hands grabbed the T-shirts being handed out to don right there on the sidewalk and on the road before supporters trekked to the meeting ground.
Billed as a political meeting, there was a palpable party atmosphere at the recreation as several people were seen drinking beer or liquor; mini coolers were handy and ready with ice.
Decked out in their T-shirts in various shades of green, and with green flags and rags at the ready, the “green posse” waited with bated breath for the promised surprise of the evening.
Warner had promised to deliver a bombshell.
Later, well into his speech, Warner showed a photograph on a screen for public viewing, of the United National Congress’ candidate for the July 29 bye-election, Khadijah Ameen, and another woman, seated around a table and holding up what appeared to be hundred dollar bills. On the table was a birthday cake with more bills lying around.
Warner declared that Ameen was “playing hokey pokey with people’s money as if it were Monopoly money.”
Yesterday, Ameen, on a walkabout in Chaguanas West, responded to Warner’s comments and his displaying the photo. She said:
“The bombshell is obviously an eggshell. It is so unfortunate, My grandmother used to tell me t’ief don’t like to see anybody else with bag. Not because you see someone with money means it came from ill gotten gain or bobul or some kickback.
“That picture is a picture of Councillor Dianne Bishop who Mr Warner knows very well. Mr Warner knows very well that it is not a kickback or a bribe. Mr Warner knows that is a sou sou hand that Councillor Bishop had collected. “He knows and he still going on the platform and saying differently.
“It is very clear that Mr Warner is grasping at straws.”
To supporters gathered at Marchin Recreation Ground on Friday night, Warner described Ameen as the “cabal’s sacrificial lamb”. He produced an audit conducted by the Internal Auditor III at the Local Government Ministry which he claimed showed several discrepancies with vouchers, monthly statements and payment of salaries for the Tunapuna Piarco regional Corporation.
Yesterday Ameen said the audit report was not for the period when she was chairman of the Corporation.
“He (Mr Warner) spoke about an audit report. The audit report is not even for the period I was chairman of the Corporation. At that time, the PNM was in control of the Corporation. Mr Warner is failing to tell the public that and to tell the people that on his platfrom.
“So he is obviously getting very desperate, misleading people, trying to create all kinds of shadows and doubts but I can tell you he is doing it because we are on our way to success. He is seeing defeat on the ground.
“If he wants to continue to attack me he can do so. I can assure you that I have attorneys looking at every word he says so he should consider apologising for the misleading statements he has made. I call on him to be responsible. Make the apology.”
Earlier in his speech, Warner also called on Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar to conduct investigations into a range of issues including recipients of HDC houses and funding from businessmen for various enterprises including the Children’s Life Fund and the PM’s Christmas Fund.
He also questioned the equity in ministerial posts, contending that Arima MP Rodger Samuels, who won that PNM stronghold under a Congress of the People (COP), had been sidelined while others had been given full ministerial portfolios.
“To win Arima was to strike a fatal blow to the heart of the PNM…yet he is confined to the ranks of Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister,” said Warner.