The general election 2010 results paint a win by a coalition of the political parties that call themselves the People's Partnership. The result at the time of writing is that the Partnership has won 29 seats while the PNM was reduced to 12.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar is declared the Prime Minister. This is itself history-making since it's the first time a woman has been elected to such exalted office. This combined political parties and individual national figures have pulled off what some saw as an impossibility. But the man who brought the government of the People's National Movement down was really its leader and Prime Minister, Patrick Manning. With half his term left this man collapsed his government for no valid political reason.
The Treasury was not quite empty and oil was still fetching US$70 a barrel and natural gas was in demand. The ruling party even boasted that the stabilisation fund was in excess of $17 billion. With 26 PNM members to the Opposition's 15, there was no way that a vote of no-confidence in Manning would have brought down his administration, It appears to me that Patrick Manning had lost the will to govern. One of his members, Keith Rowley, opposed him because a white Canadian and his wife were permitted unchecked inside our Treasury. Calder and Sherene Hart had the full confidence of Manning and in the end this may have made it impossible for Manning to continue as a one-man government.
Even with the advice of his specially chosen one, his prophetess, our Prime Minister could no longer control the affair of T&T from his $300 million mansion. And Jack Warner was waiting! The contribution of Jack Austin Warner to the politics of T&T has to be considered one that stands above most politicians in the history of our nation. As vice president of Fifa, Warner clearly does not need a salary of a Member of Parliament. Instead Jack, as he is fondly called, refuses to accept a monthly salary. Jack indeed is one national that truly has put his own personal fortune at the needs of his political party which he has pledged support. This, however, is not new as political parties often have financiers. What distinguishes Jack from the others is that he has also brought his organisational skills that have made him successful in business. This organisational skill manifested itself from the outset of Jack's joining the United National Congress but it was given an opportunity to be showcased in this 2010 elections. The professionalism that Jack brought to the world of football and his many business interests was transposed into the Partnership's politics for its advantage.
The almost daily UNC strategy meetings began at 5 am at the offices of Warner. It is no secret that Jack begins his work day no later than 4 am as he has to deal with different timelines in different parts of the globe. For his involvement in opposition politics he was condemned by some ambitious Indian politicians, while at the same time vilified by some Afro-Trinis for "selling out his race." One nasty radio station described him as monkey-faced. Who is this man? Jack Austin Warner was born in Rio Claro, southeast Trinidad, on January 26, 1943. Warner and his three sisters and two brothers were almost single-handedly brought up by their mother Stella, a simple, hard working woman with a firm belief in God. The young Warner attended St Theresa's Roman Catholic School in Rio Claro and later, when his parents moved to Longdenville in 1953, he was transferred to the primary school in the area.
Warner got a scholarship from Trinidad Clay Products to attend the College of St Phillip's and St James, which in 1958 was changed to Presentation College, Chaguanas. He later attended the Mausica Teachers Training College and the University of the West Indies where he obtained his degree in history in 1967. He became the T&T Football Association secretary in 1973 where he stayed for the next 16 years until he tendered his resignation in 1990. During that period, Warner became the strongman of football in the country.�He also serves as president of the Caribbean Football Union and special adviser to the T&T Football Federation and was re-elected as president of Concacaf at the congress in Antigua on May 9, 2004.
In the election campaign of 2010, Jack's nightly presentations on the hustings have been the most energetic. Many supporters looked forward on radio, television and at the meetings to what Jack had to say. It was clear that Jack, despite all of his achievements, did not lose the common touch and the ability to relate to all the people.
But what was amazing about Jack was his many sources of information. Sometimes this was of a personal nature, at other times it was information about wrong-doing by the State. When the ruling party attempted to recruit Andrew Jennings to intervene in the election campaign to attack Warner, he was able to produce correspondence relating to the conspiracy. Hundreds of thousands of people worked to bring the Partnership to power. But the time and energy and resources invested by Jack Warner must receive special praise.
* Satnarayan Maharaj is the secretary general of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha