Last update: 05-Dec-2013 3:57 pm
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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PM not fazed by Monday’s results
“St Joseph, we are coming for you.” That was the declaration from Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar as she addressed supporters early yesterday morning at United National Congress (UNC) headquarters, Rienzi Complex, Couva. Even though the UNC lost significant ground in Monday’s local government elections that did not seem to faze Persad-Bissessar nor her supporters as they celebrated well into the wee hours of yesterday.
She hailed the UNC’s capture of five regional corporations as a victory for the party. “God has been good to us. He does not sleep he only wears pyjamas. Felicity, welcome back home. We won Felicity,” she said. Persad-Bissessar said the battle was not over.
She pointed to the looming St Joseph by-election on November 4.
“There is not a minute to rest. No rest for the wicked. There is rest for the righteous. Tomorrow (yesterday) I am going to rest but on Wednesday (today) we are out. St Joseph here we come. On this campaign trail I stand with you,” she told supporters. Persad-Bissessar received a hero’s welcome when she exited her vehicle around 11.30 pm on Monday night. Five dancers, dressed in East Indian outfits, showered the Prime Minister with confetti as she and her husband, Gregory, arrived at Rienzi Complex.
She was greeted by some of her Cabinet ministers in the carpark to tassa drums and booming music trucks. Applause erupted as she entered the upper floor of complex which was packed with flag-waving supporters, a far cry from earlier in the evening when media personnel outnumbered supporters. When she took the stage shortly after midnight Persad-Bissessar praised her supporters for returning the UNC’s “heartland,” back into the fold of the party.
Persad-Bissessar said she warned against splitting votes which led to the UNC losing some of the electoral districts it once held. She urged supporters in St Joseph to “not make the same mistake.” “Stand up with me, hold my hand. Let us stand together, come back home,” she said. Persad-Bissessar urged winning candidates from the People’s National Movement (PNM) and the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) to join with the People’s Partnership and work together.
“We want to ensure that every citizen is represented. We want to ensure that. This is not about party and politics, this is about the people of T&T. This is about everyone of you. I will fight for you, I will continue to fight for you,” she said. The Prime Minister serenaded supporters on stage and waved her yellow scarf as winning candidates and Cabinet ministers joined her on stage. She presented the candidates and they vowed to work to deliver services to citizens.
Persad-Bissessar warned councillors they must perform or they would be “fired.” Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, speaking with reporters at the complex, said he was “very happy” with the results. “I think the UNC as a party did extremely well. You may recall that prior to the elections people were saying there was a race between the PNM and the ILP and they were predicting significant incursions into the UNC areas by the ILP and that did not materialise. The UNC has rallied around the political leader,” he said.
Ramlogan said ILP leader Jack Warner needed to reflect on his party’s performance at the polls. Food production Minister Devant Maharaj told reporters he felt good about the results. However, he said, there were some areas he wished could have gone to the UNC. Both Maharaj and Minister in the Ministry of Finance Rudranath Indarsingh said they were pleased that the ILP failed to capture the coveted Felicity/Endeavour district.
Indarsingh said that was an indication that the people has “rejected” the ILP, since that district was in the heart of the Chaguanas West constituency, a seat held by ILP interim leader Jack Warner. He said he was pleased that the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation was returned to the UNC with resounding results. However, he said, the UNC lost the California electoral district because of split votes in area.
Maharaj said while he would have liked the results to be more favourable for the party, he said it had not knocked the wind out of the UNC’s sails as it headed into the St Joseph by-election campaign.
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