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Warner: PNM put fear in Tobago’s hearts (with CNC3 video)
National Security Minister Jack Warner is claiming the People’s National Movement won Monday’s Tobago House of Assembly election because it instilled fear among the African population. In a statement issued yesterday in his capacity as UNC chairman, Warner said: “With very little to show from a party they have supported, a party that has neglected and overlooked them, Tobagonians still chose to remain with their political abusers.”
He said the PNM resorted to the “tactic of instilling fear that some other group will take away the little they had and the tribal instincts did the rest.” During the campaigning ahead of the election, PNM candidate Hilton Sandy told a meeting Tobagonians should ensure the PNM was returned to control the THA to ensure a “Calcutta ship” did not come in and take over the island.
Sandy was forced to apologise for the comment after many, including his political leader Dr Keith Rowley, and former head of the Public Service and Tobagonian, Reginald Dumas, who claimed it was racist, criticised him. Yesterday, Warner said the PNM’s election theme was simply that "a Calcutta ship" was coming for them and so they needed to stand in defence of Tobago.
“That was it. Fear trumped a better future,” Warner added. He said he wanted to know if Tobagonians would be better off with the proven failure of the PNM. He added: “It is the same reason why Laventille, with so little given by past PNM administrations, will support the party regardless. The tribe is all they have been convinced is needed to be protected.”
Warner said the PNM-controlled Assembly had some $22 billion but nothing to show for it after 12 years in office. He said the party, which celebrates its 57th anniversary today, did not have to sell any vision of a better life for Tobagonians. He added: “The task for us is large. It is about emancipation from mental slavery.”
Warner had several questions:
• How do we allay the fears of those who have been duped for so long?
• How can we get them to understand that the appeal to tribal instincts alone with nothing else in the offing is not in their best interest?
• How can we encourage them to look for more from their leaders?
• How can we inspire their self-determination?
• How can we improve on our own message?
He said the time had come for “introspection on how we are perceived.” Adding citizens must deliberate on these issues, Warner said they must be used “to get people to unite against those who do not represent them but imprison them by using fear and tribalism even in this day and age when a black man, with the name Barack Obama, has just been inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States.
“It is time for us to revisit how we achieve the liberation of our people from the insularity they have been captive to for far too long. We are all in this together,” Warner added. He, however, still congratulated the PNM on its victory. Minutes after the results were known on Monday night, Warner said the people of Tobago had spoken and he personally accepted the results.
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