UNC views mixed over reports of Warner's return

UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar during a NTA/UNC meeting in Port of Spain on July 19. - ROGER JACOB
UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar during a NTA/UNC meeting in Port of Spain on July 19. - ROGER JACOB

THERE are mixed views in the Opposition UNC about its former chairman Jack Warner joining a coalition between the party and former UNC national security minister Gary Griffith's National Transformation Alliance (NTA) for the August 14 local government elections.

On Saturday, Warner confirmed he will be speaking at a UNC/NTA public meeting at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya on Monday. UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Griffith will also address the meeting.

Supporting Warner's return were party chairman Davedranath Tancoo and deputy leaders Dr Roodal Moonilal and David Lee.

Former UNC MPs Vasant Bharath, Ramona Ramdial and Dr Fuad Khan did not see Warner as a political asset that could prove to voters that the party is a credible, viable political alternative to the PNM.

Tancoo said, "The UNC has always been open to working with anyone and any group seeking to improve the quality of life of citizens of our beloved nation and to secure the future of our country."

Moonilal said, "The UNC is founded on the principle of national unity as a precondition for social justice, development and prosperity."

He added, "All citizens are welcomed under the big tent of the glorious UNC.”

Lee said, "Everyone is an asset in getting rid of this government. "

Griffith, he continued, has been working with all UNC local government candidates and respects the party.

Lee said, "Mr Jack Warner has also been working with UNC and candidates."

He did not say how long Warner has been doing this or provide any details of the work he has been doing.

But Lee said, "Mr Warner has a lot to offer based on his political experience and he understands the movement of the 'ground'."

He is confident that the UNC will defeat the PNM on August 14.

"We all can play our part on August 14. Mr Warner and Gary are doing just that with the UNC."

Bharath said, "My opinion is that as much as people are fed up of the PNM, they continue to be disappointed with political accommodations particularly as it’s seen as political expediency."

He confirmed the authenticity of an audio clip about Griffith criticising Persad-Bissessar about her work hours as prime minister. Griffith was also national security adviser to Persad-Bissessar early in her prime ministerial tenure.

"Flip flop statements by Gary like Kamla Persad-Bissessar is the hardest working leader he has worked with, after publicly accusing her of taking five-day weekends, doesn’t help the cause."

Bharath said all this does is reinforce "the narrative that politicians will do and say anything to get into office."

He said his interactions with most people suggest they are apathetic to politics.

"Clearly the die-hard supporters on both sides will continue to swallow whatever is dished out, but the majority of citizens are more discerning and may very well stay away from the polls."

Ramdial said the electorate will not be persuaded to support the UNC/NTA alliance should Warner join it.

"This coalition of political convenience is a little too late to make a difference."

She said the public is well aware of the history that Warner and Griffith have with Persad-Bissessar and the UNC.

"It is all a distraction and PR to have people focus on the leaders and their fabricated battles and drama rather than the real issues of local government."

Khan, who has previously called for the return of Warner and UNC founder Basdeo Panday to help the party said, "Politics makes strange bedfellows."

He observed that Persad-Bissessar has abandoned her "go it alone" stance because she knows the UNC cannot win any election by itself.

"Then in order to prop her up, and for her to continue to stay in the leadership position, Kamla has no other choice but to scramble support from anywhere she can."

Khan said, "It leaves to be seen if the non-aligned voter will be so convinced of the participation of previous bedfellows who were at each other's necks in the past."


"UNC views mixed over reports of Warner’s return"

More in this section