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Analyst on ILP, NAR alliance: An act of desperation

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Interim political leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) Jack Warner, centre, shakes hands with political leader of the NAR Carson Charles, left, as chairman of the Antigua/ Barbuda Labour Party, Paul Green, looks on during the first national convention of the ILP held at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya on Sunday. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES

An act of desperation was how political analyst Dr Indira Rampersad described a move by the four-month-old Independent Liberal Party to form an alliance with the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR). ILP leader Jack Warner said on Sunday plans for the “grand alliance” were being worked out. The NAR has been inactive and considered defunct for several years. It was defeated in the 1991 general election after serving for one term.



Rampersad said in a telephone interview she was “surprised the NAR was still alive. I felt the party was defunct. What sort of alliance is this? It does not make much sense.” She also said ILP support continued to “dwindle” after its initial success in the July 29 Chaguanas West by-election which it won handsomely. While the ILP may consider itself a third political force, she said: “It is not a viable political entity.” Rampersad said its latest initiative with a defunct party, the NAR, would not look good for Warner’s party.


Deputy leader of the United National Congress, Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal, when contacted for comment yesterday, said he “took note of the misnomer ‘grand alliance.’" He said: “The proposed ILP/NAR alliance poses no significant interest, since both parties were on the fringe of mass mobilisation. It’s the difference between a 12-seater and a 24-seater maxi.” He said Warner was “grasping at straws. “His convention collapsed with less than 200 persons, such a sad sight for a former global figure to reach,” he said.


Moonilal added: “It is just amazing that Dr (Carson) Charles was screened by the UNC to fight the November 4 St Joseph by-election. Imagine, he was screened to fight the party that he now joins in the grand alliance.” Charles, leader of the NAR, dismissed claims the party was defunct, saying it had been working in the communities to assist the people of the country in whatever way it could.  


The NAR had an activists’ meeting in Port-of-Spain in January, he said, and a similar meeting was scheduled for this weekend at La Joya Complex, St Joseph. He said the party should not be considered defunct because it had not contested any of the four elections this year. Charles said the NAR was not interested in further splitting the votes in elections and was partnering with the ILP because it had an interest in similar community projects of the NAR. 


He said the NAR was part of the UNC Alliance in 2007 and supported the People’s Partnership in 2010. The COP had not replaced the NAR, he said, and the two parties had separate identities. Charles was confident the new alliance would be of benefit to the people of the country, particularly in the East-West Corridor.


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