"The person I was before, is no more.”
This is how People's National Movement candidate for Parlatuvier/L'Anse Fourmi/Speyside in the December 6 Tobago House of Assembly elections, Franka Cordner, last night addressed widely circulated videos allegedly showing her dancing lewdly and a short audio clip in which she denigrates fellow party member and Tobago East MP Ayanna Webster-Roy.
In the audio clip, a woman who sounds like Cordner describes Webster-Roy as looking old and says Webster-Roy was lucky that she (Cordner) did not "take her man.” In the video clips meanwhile, a woman is seen dancing lewdly, including one with a man, at social public events.
However, during a meeting in Belle Garden/Glamorgan, Cordner told supporters that she had "walked in her truth” and blamed "friends and relatives" who wanted to see her fail for sharing the videos and audio clip on social media.
Saying she had found herself in the midst of a turbulent storm, Cordner said, “What has been revealed in this storm, ladies and gentlemen, it is the need for us right-thinking people to become even more conscious of our environment and especially those who propose to be friends, and even relatives, but sit in waiting plotting your demise and willing to confer with those oppose to your development and sit and watch you fall to the ground.”
Discarding her speech and saying she needed to speak from her heart, Cordner told the gathering, “Just like every young person in Tobago, we have friends in whom we trusted but sometimes those people we trust don’t even love us.”
Gesticulating to get Webster-Roy’s attention, she said, “I want her to understand that the person I was before is now more. You know what’s funny about this story, is that even sometimes when you are trying to do better there are people who just can’t see it.
“And I said the things I said and I’m not going to use my youngness to say well ah was right, no, of course, I was wrong, I was very, very wrong. And you see the thing is when it is that your opponents know your strength they will use it against you and ah want to tell the PDP tonight, you didn’t bring me down you released the warrior in me. So ah know that the intention was to get Franka out of the race but guess what I am ready for war.”
Her statement elicited cheers from the PNM supporters.
She said whenever a woman offered themselves up for political or other forms of leadership positions, this is what they face.
"Men don't go through that but we do and we have to stop that today. We have to put an end to that now. The continuation of such actions should not happen no more," she said.
Pointing out that political opponents had also tried to destroy Webster-Roy in the process, Cordner said she had since called her (Webster-Roy) in tears and apologised, “They don’t know that you (Webster-Roy) are a mother and you understand. … I called her as ah mother and I said you know what I am sorry because in order to go forward you must stand in your truth and you must accept what you did. Some persons can’t even stand in their truth on the other side.”
Webster-Roy had earlier defended Cordner as the party’s choice, calling her a "PNM sister and a PNM daughter.”
"I want to give some words of encouragement to my sister Franka this evening," Webster-Roy said as she addressed Cordner directly.
"Franka, listen to me, what your opponents meant for evil, God will turn into good. When your opponents thought they were going to beat us down, the both of us, God going to elevate us. When your opponents anticipate that you would bow your head in shame, God going to lift your head and position you to take the electoral district of Parlatuvier/Lanse Forum forward.”
Webster-Roy said that "this" should be a lesson for PNM supporters and urged Cordner to “use this as an opportunity to be the best servant and leader the electoral district has ever seen.”