Leader of the People’s National Movement (PNM) Dr Keith Rowley suggested yesterday that PNM supporters voted for Jack Warner in Monday’s Chaguanas West by-election. Rowley was responding to questions on the 400 votes received by the party’s candidate, Avinash Singh. Speaking to reporters at a news conference at Balisier House, Rowley said Singh got more votes than millions of other candidates in other elections. He then said: “Let’s not misunderstand this. There were lots of PNM supporters, known to us, who voted in a way to get the UNC (PP) Government out of office.”
Rowley said the PNM supporters did not do that “on our urges,” but acted “on their own urges.” He added: “There are PNM supporters who don’t go out to vote in Chaguanas, or they maintain their registration in another constituency they may have come from, because their vote will count there.” He said that was known to everybody who understood the politics. Rowley said the Kamla Persad-Bissessar-led Government had effectively collapsed as a result of Jack Warner’s victory and she should therefore call early elections. The PP Government was “splintered,” he said, as the man who played a leadership role in its formation had resigned and formed a new party.
Rowley pointed out that Warner resigned after allegations of wrongdoing and those allegations have not yet been cleared. Warner’s victory, he said, will not assist this country’s relations with international trading partners in the United States, United Kingdom and Caricom. “This victory for Warner in Chaguanas will do untold damage to the image of T&T.” Many in the international community would be concerned that a man with so many allegations against him was being promoted as a man of hope for T&T, Rowley argued. Rowley said while some might see Warner as a potential prime minister of T&T, “we in the PNM say, ‘Not on your nelly.’ We are going to resist this like we resist every other political party.”
He said Warner’s Independent Liberal Party (ILP) must adhere to the principles of morality in public affairs. Rowley described the PP as a humpty-dumpty Government , which he said had fallen off into pieces. He also said the Opposition was calling on the Integrity Commission to address specific complaints raised by members of the Government against each other during the Chaguanas West by-election campaign. Those issues include the use of state letterheads to solicit millions of dollars from contractors for private Christmas events, allegations of corruption against two government ministers and the abuse of public resources for electioneering.