Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says she has no problems with Works and Infrastructure Minister Jack Warner. She said so yesterday in response to questions about perceived differences between Warner and herself. Warner had been complaining of losing employees of his Programme for Upgrading Roads Efficiency (PURE). He also aborted a personal campaign titled A Fisherman's Cry to petition the Government to ensure the death penalty was carried out according to the laws of T&T. He launched the campaign on Wednesday in response to the deaths of three fishermen from Chaguanas. He, however, called off the petition on Friday after three Cabinet ministers-Planning and the Economy Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie, Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Winston Peters and Tobago Development Minister Vernella Alleyne-Toppin-said they would vote with the Cabinet on the matter.
Justice Minister Herbert Volney had expressed support for Warner's move. Persad-Bissessar told reporters on Friday that Warner's initiative was not sanctioned by the Cabinet. She said the Government remained committed to carrying out the death penalty but there remained a critical need for new legislation to ensure the it can be implemented. Yesterday, in an interview, she dismissed concerns among the population that there was a rift between Warner and her. "I have no problems with Mr Warner," she insisted. "Mr Warner is a very hard-working minister and remains a very important part of the Cabinet, like all the other ministers.
And Persad-Bissessar also dismissed claims by some citizens that she did not acknowledge Warner at her second anniversary celebrations as political leader of the United National Congress (UNC) at Rienzi Complex on January 24. Responding to claims that she did not hold Warner's hands while she held other ministers' hands while on stage, Persad-Bissessar insisted: "That is not true, that is not true at all. I did hold Mr Warner's hands. There is a picture to prove that." Persad-Bissessar said the Government remained committed to improving the quality of life for all citizens of T&T.