My colleagues on the Head Table. Members of Cabinet, Members of Parliament, supporters, friends, members of the media.
Thank you for coming out this evening to support your party.
You know, I have had the most wonderful experience over the past several days.
I have been walking with you, stopping to listen to your stories, and meeting your families, especially the little ones who would carry the torch in the future.
We have to respect and trust them to continue our struggle when we are gone.
HISTORY OF BETRAYAL
I have been telling you, when the UNC loses; the PNM wins.
You saw it happen in 2001 when Ramesh, Ralph and Romeo thought that their ambitions were more important than the survival of the UNC government that so many of you here tonight fought so hard for.
Do you remember those horrible days during the first Patrick Manning government from 1991-1995?
Do you remember how you, the people of Chaguanas West were under siege by the criminal elements?
Do you remember how some of you had to resort to forming vigilante groups to protect yourselves because the PNM government was unwilling to do so?
And then finally in November 1995, in the spirit of one love and national unity, your party, the United National Congress formed the government.
You will recall that I was briefly appointed Attorney General before being dispatched to the Ministry of Legal Affairs, and eventually the Ministry of Education.
I don’t know how many of you know this but I was removed from my post as Attorney General without notice.
I had heard the rumours of course and I asked the then Prime Minister if he was going to revoke my appointment and he denied so.
Then one day I was in Parliament and I got a message to report to President’s House where my appointment as AG was revoked and given to Ramesh….the same Ramesh who would later go on to betray and bring down your UNC government.
Indeed I was stunned….heartbroken….
But despite all this….I never abandoned or turned against my party and my government.
The UNC at the time had a two-seat majority due to an alliance with the NAR…so every seat was important and I could have used the Siparia seat as leverage to threaten the then PM.
But I could never even consider such a vile notion!
The mere thought of betraying the UNC membership like that is abhorrent to me!
You see, I understood the value of that government.
I understood the value of the sacrifice and struggle made of us to reach that point.
I remembered the neglect and the discrimination we suffered thorough under the PNM.
And I never regretted that decision to stay true to the UNC government.
Look at how much your lives were improved!
I am so proud to have been able to contribute to the revolution in education during that time.
If I had left in a huff and a puff, we would have never accomplished all that we did.
It was the same situation in October 2007.
The Leadership Council had agreed that I would lead the UNC Alliance into the 2007 general election, and then suddenly in an about-face, it was decided that Mr. Panday and Mr. Warner would lead instead.
MP Stephen Cadiz was there! He remembered what happened.
But did I walk out on you on the threshold of a general election? NO!
Did I let my ego become bigger than my duty to the UNC people who believed in me and trusted me to do right by them? NO!
I remembered the pain and heartache of the parents whose sons and daughters were kidnapped under the brutal and bloody second tenure of the Patrick Manning Government!
I remembered the suffering of those hard-working public servants who had been victims of political persecution; and who had to seek the intervention of the law courts to receive what was rightfully theirs!
The AG and Minister Devant Maharaj know personally what I am talking about.
My duty to you has always and will always, take precedence over the personal slights that I have experienced.
MID CENTRE RALLY 2007
I recounted my words to you at the Mid Centre mall rally on October 7th 2007:
I said then:
“I never sought to betray this party.
I never sought to hold the supporters to ransom… And I never left it.
I have never walked out because things weren’t going my way. I have worked too long and too hard for both the party and the country and I am not about to give up now.”
And like my decision back in 1995, to not abandon the UNC and stay true to the course, I have never regretted my loyalty to you.
Just look what we have accomplished!
Your party is in government!
You chose me as your Prime Minister and your PP government is moving full steam ahead to build this great nation.
Look at what loyalty to the UNC has brought me!
Your faith, your trust, your love….and I promise that I will never betray you.
And look at what disloyalty to the UNC has brought to those who destroyed all that you worked for?
Team Unity and the Gang of Three brought down our government and sent us back into Opposition for eight terrible years!
They did not win a single seat but I suppose they achieved what they set out to do and that is to destroy the government that you worked so hard to win.
I am fearful that Mr, Warner will fall into the same trap that the Gang of Three did.
You must remind him that all betrayal brings is destruction.
So my sisters and brothers, I would never betray you.
I am here to build a nation, not to destroy!
I am a UNC patriot!
And your UNC candidate, Khadijah is a UNC patriot!
And the other unsuccessful nominees who screened for the Chaguanas West candidacy, who are here with us tonight, helping their UNC sister in her battle against the PNM – they are UNC patriots too!!!
They call your candidate a little girl … but I ask you what is wrong with supporting and embracing a young woman?
Why are they attacking our daughter?
I ask every mother and father to stand up in defence of our daughter.
Khadijah is a child of the UNC who is bright and competent.
And she has never abandoned our great party.
In fact she has stood with the United National Congress every step of the way, even when the party denied her opportunities.
That is the kind of commitment that builds character.
When she did not get what she wanted, she did not run away to fight against your party.
She did not form a party to oppose the UNC.
She stayed and she worked because she could see the bigger picture of taking the party and the country forward.
Khadijah is a UNC patriot.
And that is why we chose her to be your candidate … and on July 29, I am asking you to vote for Khadijah … and let the Rising Sun shine in every corner of Chaguanas West and every part of our country; let us vote to stay in Government.
The choice has always been between hope for a better life for you and your families, or going back to where we were three years ago under the oppressive PNM.
I want to emphasize that a vote against the UNC is a vote for the PNM.
So vote for the Rising Sun and make sure that the PNM doesn’t get into Chaguanas West through any back door.
NOT JUST ABOUT A BY-ELECTION.
This is not just about a by-election.
This is about naked ambition and an attempt to overthrow your democratically elected government.
The PNM abused you and neglected our communities and that is why we must never let them get back in power.
They are waiting to do it again!
That is why in this campaign I have been telling you to be very careful about your former MP who is dressed in green.
If you listen to his messages, you would understand that his intention is to work with the PNM to try to topple your government and open a back door for the PNM to enter Chaguanas West …
And when that nefarious deed is done your former MP would continue his mission to try to overthrow your constitutionally elected government.
That is what he is saying on their platform now. He cannot tell you what he can do for you, so now he is saying he must win Chaguanas West to have bargaining power to make him the next Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.
That is what he is saying!
The truth always comes out!
Mr. Warner worked among us and with us for a long time, and some of us were in denial… But there comes a time when you have to examine the facts and deal with reality.
And now is that time.
I want to remind you that this is the same man who conspired with the PNM to overthrow Dr. Rambachan as the mayor of Chaguanas and put his puppet to run the Borough.
He boasted in Parliament about working with the PNM to overthrow a UNC mayor.
Pay attention my sisters and brothers.
He knows that he wants to overthrow your Government and that is why he is not attacking the PNM.
The PNM is not even campaigning in this election…because the real PNM candidate is the man in green who is telling you that he loves you.
The campaign started weeks ago, but it was only today that Dr. Rowley found time to walk with the candidate in Chaguanas West.
The former MP is telling you he loves Kamla but every day he is attacking our party and our government. That is hypocrisy!
Why did he form a party while pretending that he wanted to be the UNC candidate?
That is betrayal of the worst kind.
You don’t form a party in five days… he was betraying you all along and if you fall for his basket he would continue to do it you would find yourself in opposition.
And then he would ask you to overthrow your government.
Don’t fall for his tricks. Ambition can be a bad thing. …and that man’s ambition is to overthrow your leader.
He would use you and conspire with the enemy to achieve his aim!
Our People’s partnership is in government.
Forget the old talk. Neither Mr. Warner nor his PNM friends would be able to do anything to help develop your community because the development funds come from the government.
We approved the money in Cabinet and as I walked through this constituency, I saw the neglect in spite of all the money we approved I had to ask, where the money gone?
I promised to tell you more … and tonight I have the details.
I walked certain parts of this constituency and I was appalled at what I saw.
I walked along Munroe Road, Bejucal Road (prounced Bocal), and Warren Road.
The roads are in a terrible state, the drains are clogged and the water is black.
Mosquitoes have invaded the residents, and they live in fear when it rains….because the place floods.
There is no room for water to run off.
Residents fear that their livestock and crops could be lost every time it rains.
Residents complained to me that they have been pleading with the former MP for the past three years to assist them in time of need.
Nothing was done. Look at these places, see for yourself.
Imagine our constituents cannot cross a drain to pick flowers for evening puja at their homes.
Was this great representation in Munroe road, when an elderly constituent fell in a hole on the road and twisted her ankle when returning after iftar and performing salaat at the mosque?
On Munroe road a car can fall off the road… this is representation?
Did you see any representation in Clarke Road, or at Serenity, Boodoo and Nidhan Trace?
Where our constituents live without proper roads and drainage.
Their emotional pleas to us to provide such basic services betray Warner’s claim to great representation.
Who can forget Dookeran trace off Cacandee road, near casi – koo.?
We found a villager marooned in her home surrounded by static brackish water-infested by mosquitoes and insects.
When she saw us she tip-toed out on blocks from her ground floor home.
I could not imagine her going in and out with groceries and holding the hands of her infant children.
Her home was not a castle but a hell.
She pleaded for help, explaining that her children contracted dengue – is this the great representation Jack speaks about?
Other roads are in a state of complete disrepair in Chaguanas West.
What about Warren road, John Peter road, Adjodha Road, and Lyle Lane to name a few?
But do you know that Mr Jack Warner collected over $ 232 million during the period 2010-2012 from the PURE program for infrastructure works in Chaguanas West alone?
I ask tonight, “Do you see $ 232 million of roads and drains in Chaguanas West? Where that money gone?
So voting for Jack Warner cannot guarantee you roads, drains or other government services.
Dr Moonilal told you earlier, that Warner recommended 342 persons for housing – but only a meagre 21 of them or 6% came from Chaguanas West.
In three years he recommended 3 people from Felicity for housing.
That is one house a year for Felicity!!!
When he goes to walk in Felicity – you ask him why he did not recommend you for a house or land.
You know, as we do, that those persons who came to see him in his habitual pre-dawn office hours were from outside of Chaguanas West, the few of you who went there were chased away and insulted by his new candidate for Mayor of Chaguanas.
My sisters and brothers, you must understand that is not just about Chaguanas West.
This is about the future of our country. The Local Elections are coming … and if we drop our guard and let them into Chaguanas West, they would want more.
Mr. Warner will use you to contest the local election because he wants to own Chaguanas…and then he would discard you.
The last time he ousted a UNC mayor by conspiring with the PNM enemy.
He said that was collateral damage because he was really going for the leader.
You know what is his next move?
He is coming for your leader.
No longer collateral damage.
But that is not going to happen!
We are strong. We are united.
And we are standing together against all interlopers and pretenders. We have no room for traitors.
We are engaged in a great political war for the soul of our great country.
We must win this battle and then win the war!
This is about what is right and what is wrong. We are standing on the side of righteousness …
This is about the future of our party, our government and our country.
We have an obligation to defend them all and to fight to secure your future.
Our party stands for justice and equality; it was founded on the need to respect its members and to strive for freedom and democracy.
In a quarter of a century our vision remained the same.
Today, you must question his true motives.
When your former MP found out that he could not take your party and overthrow your leader he decided to leave and form a new party.
That is his only mission. He wants to be the Prime Minister and you must stop him and his PNM friends.
You must vote for Khadijah.
Every time he opens his mouth he is talking about what he did for you but every step of the way he was just trying to glorify himself.
Mr. Warner, you need to read the scriptures.
Stop praising yourself for a moment and read the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 6 and you would learn an important lesson:
“Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men…”
My sisters and brothers, I warn you to be wary of those who keep making promises to serve you when they are serving themselves and their secret masters.
Mr. Warner is saying he wants to get back in Parliament; Chaguanas West would be the place from where he would change the politics of Trinidad and Tobago.
What kind of change does he want? You made a revolutionary change on May 24, 2010.
We in the People’s Partnership changed the politics of hate and divisiveness in 2010; we changed the corruption, cronyism and nepotism.
What change does he want? What is the change he wants to make? Is it to bring back the PNM?
This battle we face today is not one that we wanted. We did not choose it. We never asked your former MP to resign his seat. We just said to him clear your name.
How can you clear your name when skeletons keep falling out of the cupboard every day?
But every day we keep hearing more and more so how can you clear your name?
Just yesterday we read in the Sunday Express, that while he was the Works and Infrastructure Minister, he was asking contractors for money for Christmas party … and it was not just pennies … we are talking millions and it was going into a company of which he was a director.
I read about one Christmas party. That was in December 2011. But since that article appeared yesterday, people have come forward and said there were other parties, which they attended.
I understand there were Christmas parties in 2010, 2011, and 2012. I understand there were Carnival fetes in 2011, 2012, and 2013…all at the Centre of Excellence. Who paid for that? Who funded that? Please Mr. Warner, tell us.
Were requests made to contractors to pay for these functions?
People who attended said these functions were lavish. Jack Warner needs to answer these serious charges published in the Express. Look, they even had a copy of a cheque and bank statement in the newspaper. Jack, forget Khadijah Ameen, you should debate Camini Marajh.
These are very serious matters – had Mr Warner been a member of my Cabinet today – I would have accepted another resignation.
Everyone knows I stood with Mr. Warner as long as humanly possible (maybe longer), but I can’t now – I cannot do that to you our loyal supporters.
We are finding out every day where he is getting all the millions from , we cannot out spend him, no political party in the western hemisphere can out spend him.
These allegations, if true, would amount to criminal conduct as it relates to the offences under the Integrity in Public Life Act, Section 27, the Prevention of Corruption Act and Tax Evasion in particular, and should be investigated by the relevant authorities.
And yet, there are those who say that your UNC should have returned Mr. Warner as a candidate.
To do this against the backdrop of these unnerving allegations and evidence is to go beyond the boundary of the belief that “politics has a morality of its own”.
To return Mr. Warner as a UNC candidate would have meant that politics has NO morality – NOT EVEN OF ITS OWN!!
I have a country to run.
For three years, I stood by him with all these allegations swirling around him.
I gave him the benefit of the doubt. When evidence unfolded, I had to take action.
I told him to go clear his name and when he did that, I will reinstate him.
But he has betrayed me and be betrayed all of you. He betrayed the trust this country placed in him.
As your Prime Minister and your leader, I have a duty and an obligation to protect our country … and that is the choice I had to make.
That is the choice I am asking you to make. We made a change for the better three years ago.
Don’t put yourself out of government.
Don’t let anyone entice you with false promises. When we are in opposition we cannot get things done.
Look around this country and see what we have achieved as a Partnership Government:
Talk to the children and you’ll hear their excitement about their computers that your government delivered
talk to the seniors about their pensions
talk to the hundreds who now have a home of their own
talk to the families who can now have food
talk to the homeless who have been moved off the streets
look at the improved roads and drains
we are building hospitals and schools and police stations
we are building community centres
we are bringing water to every home
We are building a country.
This is your government at work.
Last Friday, we handed out 405 leases for land to former employees of Caroni (1975) Limited.
Mr. Warner said because he raised it, I acted.
But this has been a work in progress since 2012.
We handed out leases before, and I pledged on Friday that all 8,000 former Caroni workers will get their leases and land.
The Ministry of Food Production is planning to launch the rice project next week in Bejucal.
Much work has been done in anticipation of this revitalisation of the rice industry in Trinidad and Tobago.
This year we will have 5000 acres of rice under cultivation and this community will play a huge part in feeding the nation
On another note, Mr. Warner is calling for change.
What is the change Mr. Warner is talking about?
He says he is the interim leader of a party but who are the officials of that party?
What does it represent?
You have a well-established party.
Your party has an executive and a leader that the membership elected in free and transparent elections.
And for 25 years we have led a struggle for you.
So don’t let anybody malign your party and ask you to sign up for cat in bag.
Our struggle is not for Chaguanas West alone.
It is for all of Trinidad and Tobago.
Ask yourself who you are electing. You know Khadijah.
She works for you and will continue to work for you from inside your party.
She doesn’t have any hidden agenda.
She is a child of the UNC who has grown up with the same noble values that our founders outlined when our party was created.
Khadijah is ready to serve you as a proud member of your party.
Don’t fall for Mr. Warner’s rhetoric! Dictators disguise themselves with words like “democracy” and “freedom”.
But when you undress them they are just self-serving.
I want to tell you that nothing would distract me from my mission of keeping our country and our party united.
We began a journey three years ago to cure the ills of our society – to eradicate poverty and hunger, to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure, to bring back stability to the economy, to make our communities safe again.
We are continuing the journey and we ask you to stand firm with your party.
We in the UNC are committed to building a just society where everyone would be equal … we are dedicated to ending every form of discrimination.
The change for which you voted is taking place as promised.
The times are too serious for us to engage in useless rhetoric.
We know that the PNM and its agents do not want the kind of change we are making.
Well them that your government is a government for the people and that you are staying in government.
Send them a clear message on July 29. Tell them that you still believe in your party.
Tell them that there is no room for them in Chaguanas West.
VOTE FOR THE RISING SUN AND STAY IN GOVERNMENT.
VOTE FOR PROGRESS
VOTE FOR CONTINUITY
VOTE THE KHADIJAH ON JULY 29
AND let the RISING SUN continue to comfort you and your families.
Thank you. God bless you. God bless the UNC. God bless our country … Let no one divide us!