You are here
Warner saves Prakash from being sacked
Chairman of the United National Congress (UNC) Jack Warner was the lone Cabinet colleague who came out in defense of Congress of the People (COP) leader Prakash Ramadhar—ensuring he was not stripped of his ministerial portfolio. This was revealed to the Sunday Guardian by Cabinet sources and COP members.
And, while Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has dismissed reports the meeting which was held last Wednesday at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s was held to discipline Ramadhar for his threat to adopt an independent position on policy issues, Cabinet sources and COP members have revealed otherwise.
According to insiders, Ramadhar was “spared the axe” following Warner’s advice to the Cabinet. Both Cabinet ministers had crossed paths last year after Ramadhar had publicly called for Warner to step down following the Federation International Football Association bribery scandal. But it was Warner who came out in his defense last week.
“Mr Warner’s position was quite clear that if the COP leader is fired the COP would gain immense support,” the Cabinet source revealed. Warner, the source said, indicated it was a bad political move and he would not be part of it. Warner, when contacted on Friday, was tight-lipped about the role he played in quelling the contentious issue. He refused to comment.
The controversy continues to rage within the People’s Partnership (PP) Government following the decision by San Fernando Mayor Marlene Coudray to switch political allegiances. An outspoken former COP deputy political leader, Robert Mayers, confirmed to Sunday Guardian that Ramadhar was expected to be sacked.
“Yes, he was supposed to be fired but it was Mr Warner who said otherwise. Mr Warner understands the bigger picture. He was supposed to be terminated but Mr Warner advised otherwise,” Mayers said. Insiders told Sunday Guardian that Ramadhar was prepared to resign his Cabinet position following his return from Florida but was persuaded not to do so after discussions with two party members—Roy Augustus and Joseph Toney.
“He was told not to resign. If you get fired you would be respected for what you believe in,” was what he was told, a party source revealed. In an unexpected move following the emergency Cabinet meeting, Ramadhar at a press conference on May 5 announced that the COP would continue to bear collective Cabinet responsibility in spite of its position taken regarding the San Fernando mayor.
COP executive split
Sunday Guardian understands the decision by Ramadhar to announce that the COP was prepared to continue to bear collective Cabinet responsibility with the PP has now caused a “spilt” in the executive, with some members distancing themselves from Ramadhar.
This after some members are claiming that Ramadhar has diverted from the position taken at the party’s last national council meeting held on April 29. The following were discussed:
• UNC breached the agreement—UNC must fix it;
• COP must not leave the PP because the UNC has breached the agreement;
• COP must accept no alternative compensation for the breach of the agreement by the UNC;
• In the meantime and until this matter is resolved the COP reserves the right to revisit our relationship with all the units that form the PP;
• The COP re-asserts its right to take an independent position on policy issues of the day;
• Board and Cabinet appointments must be done in consultation with government and the duly elected political leader of the COP.
Mayers: Ramadhar must come clean
Indicating that the statement issued at the May 5 press conference was now at odds with what was discussed at the national council meeting, Mayers said Ramadhar needed to come clean and indicate if he is now singing a different tune.
“The sentiment that was translated was that in the event that government policy was not in keeping with what was agreed upon we would speak out. That was certainly the impression that was created at the last meeting. We decided that we were going to take an independent position. I am seeing other things that seem to suggest that the leader has changed his tune.
“When the leader comes back to the national council he would have to tell us what the new reality is,” Mayers said. Explaining that the sentiment at the meeting was for the COP leader to demit office if the party’s ethics were being compromised, the former deputy leader said: “When the leader addressed the meeting he indicated that he understood the position taken by the national council and if it meant in order to regain our independence that the leader needed to come out from Cabinet so be it. That was the prevailing sentiment at the time.”
Mayers revealed: “When he addressed the council at the end of the meeting he precisely articulated what the mood was. Subsequent to the national council meeting with the leaders of the PP it seems as though the leader’s stance has shifted but not until he comes back to explain we really do not know where we are. What has now come out seems to be at odds at what took place on April 29.”
Also expressing dissatisfaction over the latest developments was COP deputy political leader Vernon De Lima. Saying the COP was being outsmarted, De Lima added: “We are not feeling good. We are feeling betrayed. Very soon we will know what the true situation is. I am not happy at all with the entire scenario. I feel the COP is being out numbered, maneuvered and outsmarted.”
Attempts to contact Ramadhar proved futile as all calls were forwarded to his assistant Sangeeta Ramnanan.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.