Jack Warner has formed a new political party—the Independent Liberal Party (ILP)—to bring down the People’s Partnership Government, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said last night.
Persad-Bissessar said Warner could have contested the Chaguanas West by-election as an independent but he chose to form a party.
“It is not just for Chaguanas West, it is an attempt to bring down your duly elected Government. Mark my words,” she told supporters in an address at a political meeting at the ASJA Girls’ College in Charlieville.
She pointed out that former attorney general (AG) Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj did the same in 2001 with Team Unity.
Persad-Bissessar questioned whether Warner will now put candidates against the (United National Congress) UNC to contest the upcoming local government election.
Last night, she pointed out that he had people on his ILP political platform attacking her Government.
She also warned that the People’s National Movement (PNM) can embrace former Government minister Jack Warner in its political bosom in an effort to oust her Government.
She stressed that Chaguanas West must remain in Government and in the UNC family and no other party must be taken seriously. She called on supporters to wear their yellow in pride.
Persad-Bissessar noted Rowley’s interview with the media where he was asked if he would embrace Warner, to which he responded, “There is a maxim: the enemy of my enemy is my friend, so some people see it that way, and I am a very friendly guy.”
Said Persad-Bissessar: “That sounds like he is trying to say he would join with your former MP if Mr Warner returns to Parliament.”
The Prime Minister said this decision was totally up to Warner, butshe would like to believe that he (Warner) was no PNM, and after spending many years fighting against the PNM, he would join with Rowley.
She criticised Rowley, saying he was a man with no ethics and morals and hypocrisy was expected of him.
Persad-Bissessar said Rowley was “hounding” Warner from day one.
“He had a problem with everything with him and almost every day, he demanded that he be fired.
And today, he is courting him,” she said as she warned voters to be on guard.
Turning to Warner, she noted he had formed his own party—the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) and recalled that in 2007 when she was bypassed as the UNC leader—she never abandoned the UNC, she remained loyal and faithful to the party.
She added when UNC candidate for Chaguanas West Khadijah Ameen sacrificed the UNC chairmanship in 2010 for Warner, she did not go and form her own party or betray the UNC.
Persad-Bissessar reiterated that he voluntarily gave up his position and now he was back begging the people for it.
She said she had no quarrel with him and, in fact, it pained her to speak of the issues surrounding him on the platform.
She said there was the suggestion that the UNC was unfair to Warner and she was ungrateful.
“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. No one is as conscious of the contribution and sacrifice made by so many persons towards the resurgence of our great party,” she said.
“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 added.
She noted the PNM and several citizen groups were calling for Warner’s head for months.
The Prime Minister pointed out she defended Warner, and when issues were raised with respect to his dual portfolios of FIFA vice-president and Government minister—legal opinions were sought which showed there was no conflict and he remained in the Cabinet.
Persad-Bissessar said she stood by Warner’s side, even when partners in the coalition were against him.
“Innuendoes and allegations began swirling, but as Prime Minister, I felt satisfied there was no compelling evidence. Even with concerns expressed by our coalition partners, I remained supportive,” she said.
Warner, she said, had always assured her that the allegations against him had no basis and she gave him the benefit of the doubt.