Last update: 05-Dec-2013 3:57 pm
Thursday, December 05, 2013
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PM: UNC has no candidate yet
Interim leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) Jack Warner was up to yesterday the only party leader with a confirmed candidate to contest the St Joseph seat. With just hours to go before the Election and Boundaries Commission (EBC) verification of candidates begins tomorrow, neither the People’s National Movement nor the United National Congress (UNC) had confirmed who was their selection for the November 4 by-election.
Though Warner confirmed the selection of a candidate, he refused to name the person, saying he would reveal the name on nomination day, October 14. Yesterday, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said the UNC has not screened any candidate thus far. “At our last meeting we had agreed that nominations would come in within seven days, that time has not expired,” she said. She said the screening process will take place “some time this week.” “There is no candidate at the moment,” she said.
On the EBC’s verification exercise for candidates tomorrow, Persad-Bissessar said the UNC had seasoned politicians and would not need their guidance for the proper documents. She also said that the UNC had taken no decision on whether to field popular Crime Watch host Ian Alleyne for the St Joseph seat. Meanwhile, General secretary of the PNM Ashton Ford yesterday said the screening process for the St Joseph seat would begin today in preparation for the EBC dry run exercise tomorrow.
“There are four candidates that we will be screening,” Ford said. There has been speculation that PNM Senator Terrence Deyalsingh or former minister of finance Mariano Browne were tipped to contest the seat for the PNM.
Om Lalla: Things could happen over the weekend
The battle seemed to be heating up between the UNC and ILP especially after Alleyne appeared on a UNC platform last week and bashed Warner. There was speculation that Alleyne would be the UNC pick for St Joseph and Warner’s legal representative, Alleyne’s close friend, Om Lalla would run under the ILP banner. Lalla, in a telephone interview yesterday, said nothing has been finalised just yet but “things could happen over this weekend.”
“I have been spoken to but not approached in any formal sense, but my association with Jack Warner and the ILP is known as is my friendship with Ian,” Lalla said. “Ian has taken more of a political stance that I have in that he mounted a political platform, he shocked me too,” he said of Alleyne’s surprise appearance on the UNC stage. “But things are going to happen this weekend, and right now I am just looking on,” he said.
Lalla said stepping into the political arena was a big decision as politics had “degenerated” and if he were to step in it would be in a bid to raise the current standards. “It has to be considered carefully,” he said. Warner, when asked in a text message, if the St Joseph seat was turning into a battle between the two friends, Alleyne and Lalla, simply said “we’ll see.”
Another popular local personality, Errol Fabien has thrown his hat in the ring as an independent but is currently in talks with labour party Movement for Social Justice to contest the seat under its banner. While Fabien has not returned several calls and messages to his mobile over the past three days, MSJ leader David Abdulah confirmed that the two have had several meetings.
“We are hoping that he will run under the MSJ but even if he chooses not to, we will add our support to his candidacy,” Abdulah said in a telephone interview on Friday. According to the EBC, tomorrow’s dry-run is to give the commission a chance to verify the documents of the candidates and to ensure each has their relevant party’s permission. All candidates for the St Joseph by-election must submit their documents tomorrow.
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