Jack Warner’s decision to go up as an independent candidate or form his own political party can challenge and fracture the United National Congress (UNC). Going up as an independent can also result in Warner being expelled from the party forthwith. This was the view of political analyst Maukesh Basdeo yesterday, following the announcement by Warner that he now has three options before him.
If Warner does not contest the poll, it would prove that he will remain a UNC member for life, Basdeo said. Basdeo said if Warner gives the PM his full support, it would be interesting to find out his next move. “If he decides to go up as an independent candidate or forms his own political party it will become an open challenge for the UNC. “It would be seen as a fracture within the party.”
Basdeo said forming a political party can also test Warner’s power in the local government election. “One would have to look at Mr Warner’s popularity that extends outside of Chaguanas West,” he said. “Any decision he takes, he will still have to challenge the Prime Minister because of the decision of the party…she is the political leader.” Political analyst Dr Bishnu Ragoonath, meanwhile, said if Warner does not contest, he can live to fight another day within the UNC.
Ragoonath said forming a third party has a history of crumbling. “He knows fully well if he wants to go up for the leadership position or any position in the UNC, he can not run as an independent or form his own party. “He has to decide whether he is going to be silent on this election…let it go, come back to fight another day, or if he is going to stand alone.” The challenge with Warner standing alone, Ragoonath said, was starting a third force.
“All his support may very well be based in Chaguanas. Can he get support from the rest of the country? I don’t know. I don’t think so.” Can the PM be forced to call a snap election? Ragoonath said no. “Nothing can force the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has a significant majority regardless of Warner.” Asked if Warner has the support to capture the Chaguanas West seat, Ragoonath said “chances are he has.”
But winning a seat as an independent does not take you very far, he said. Ragoonath said if Khadijah Ameen was the only female who was screened by the UNC and the Prime Minister had made up her mind that she wanted a female that represented youth and women, then the whole screening process was a farce. “If the only woman was Khadijah, then why go through the motions of screening when you wanted a woman?”