Jack Warner has criticised Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for urging United National Congress (UNC) supporters to vote for party rather than an individual. As hundreds of exuberant fans surrounded him at Rienzi Complex on Tuesday night, Warner said, “I want to make a point about the Prime Minister who is saying vote party? You think people will come to the party when they have an issue? They come to the individual. So you must vote for service and representation.”
Warner made the comment as he prepared to face the UNC’s screening committee for a chance to be selected to represent the party in the July 29 Chaguanas West by-election. He was referring to a call by the PM urging supporters to return the UNC to power during a Monday night meeting in Cunupia. In rallying supporters, Persad-Bissessar said, “Defend your party and let us keep Chaguanas West in the UNC and inside of the Government. Vote for the rising sun. Do not look for name and anything you know. All you have to look for is the rising sun,” she said. In defending her position, she added: “People do not vote for me, people did not vote for any MP here. They voted for the party and the Partnership. The day an MP forgets that is when we will see the back of that MP.”
On Tuesday, a music truck blared calypso and chutney hits serenading Warner when he arrived for his screening. Jubilant supporters shouted, “We want Jack Warner.” Some of them carried banners which read, “Hindus support Warner,” “The Voice of the People is the Voice of God” and “Righteousness exalts a nation.” At one point, some of Warner’s supporters clashed with supporters of Pundit Satyanand Mahabir, who was also screened. However, Manohar Ramsaran, who was also screened on the night, was subsequently told he did not qualify as he was still a member of the Congress of the People. The COP has also since kicked him out of the party for breaking party rules by running for a UNC position. Current Tunapuna Regional Corporation chair Khadijah Ameen, who is also currently acting UNC chair, was also screened and has now been tipped for the position. Four other candidates, Mantab Mohammed, Harry Monian, Harrydath Maharaj and Manohar Singh, were also screened Tuesday, but they are said to be well out of the race.