Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 3rd 2014 Contents A5
Wednesday, September 3, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Former Independent Liberal Party (ILP) deputy
political leader Anna Deonarine is guarding her
next political move closely, neither confirming
nor denying an alliance with the United National
"I have no comment to make," Deonarine said
yesterday when the T&T Guardian contacted her
for comment on whether she was joining the Unit-
ed National Congress (UNC).
Pressed further, Deonarine, an attorney, said
she would continued to work in private practice
and that was all she had to say.
Speculation about Deonarine s move to the
UNC had been circulating for some time and on
Monday she fuelled that when she attended Hous-
ing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal s Independence
Day Indian Classical Singing Competition at Fun
Splash Water Park, Debe.
Deonarine, speaking with the T&T Guardian
at the event, said she attended on the invitation
of Moonilal, the UNC MP for Oropouche East.
Her appearance at the event surprised many,
especially after the political jabs she received from
the UNC and in particular Attorney General Anand
Ramlogan and Moonilal during the Chaguanas
West and St Joseph by-elections.
The UNC trained their guns on Deonarine in
the campaign, raising the issue of a British police
investigation into her purchase of a Range Rover
which was reported stolen in the UK.
Deonarine and her former political foes appeared
to have buried their political hatchet on Monday
as they shared light, jovial moments at the event.
She maintained, however, she had no political
But ILP chairman Jack Warner has claimed
Deonarine met with Moonilal before and was
being offered the Chaguanas West seat for the
upcoming general election.
Yesterday, Moonilal, contacted via text message,
denied Deonarine was being poached or enticed
by the UNC.
"We do not conduct business in that manner,"
In response to Warner s claims, Moonilal said:
"I do not get involved in the internal affairs of the
opposition political parties."
However, the minister added: "It appears that
hell hath no fury as a political leader scorned. Ms
Deonarine is free to associate with any organisa-
He said Monday was simply a day to "enjoy
our Indian classical songs and honour classical
pioneer Sohan Gildharrie."
Asked if Deonarine would be joining the UNC
and if she would be welcomed, Moonilal said: "All
citizens are welcomed to join the UNC once they
subscribe to the values and principles of the UNC
and are not debarred for any reason."
He added that the party s membership com-
mittee handled such matters.
Deonarine is not the only political opponent to
have been captured liming with Moonilal.
The People s National Movement s (PNM) Pene-
lope Beckles-Robinson, who challenged Dr Keith
Rowley for leadership earlier this year, attended
Moonilal s International Table Beating and Curry
Duck competition at the water park last Decem-
ber.Mere days before attending the event Beckles-
Robinson had been axed from the Senate by Rowley.
She maintained then that she did nothing wrong
and was invited to the event by the owner of the
park, who is a well-known PNM supporter. Beck-
les-Robinson also denied any association with
Moonilal or the UNC.
Christmas came early yes-
terday for 45 vendors who oper-
ate at the old Salvatori Building
site, Port-of-Spain, when
Housing Minister Dr Roodal
Moonilal granted them a three-
But Moonilal warned that by
next January 2, , the vendors
must pack their bags and leave
the site which is also used as a
He met with three of the ven-
dors at his South Quay, Port-
of-Spain, office for several hours
yesterday to discuss the best way
Also present was Urban Devel-
opment Corporation of T&T
(Udecott) chairman and mana-
ging director of the Housing
Development Corporation (HDC)
After the discussion, Moonilal
told the media he was fully aware
that Christmas was around the
corner and it was a crucial time
for the vendors.
He said the authorities would
use the time to get the necessary
documents and clearances for
the work to be done at the site
and to find a suitable place to
relocate the vendors.
Saying the property belongs
to Udecott, Moonilal said: "That
site is a site we have identified
as a significant infrastructure
development in Port-of-Spain.
"We intend to construct an
energy tower, a central focal
point for the energy agencies in
T&T, both public and private,
also to be tied in to some kind
of commercial space in down-
town Port-of-Spain as well."
He said that was part of the
wider plan for the redevelopment
for the city and because of that,
Udecott was not ready to take
immediate possession of the site.
He said Government had no
intention of "throwing out any
one," especially those who
"We want to encourage them
to work harder and not punish
them for that. Notwithstanding
that compassion, when the time
comes we need to get that site...
come what may, we will have to
move on the site.
"January 2 is the outer bound-
ary of which we will not be
entertaining any more extension,"
Afterwards, vendor Steve
"Blackhat" Fletcher, who was
part of the talks, dropped to his
knees outside the HDC building,
raised his hands and thanked
He then walked briskly to the
site and shouted: "Tell everybody
to unpack and make some
money. We get an extension."
The vendors had protested
their relocation outside Parlia-
ment at the International Water-
front Centre, Wrightson Road,
Port-of-Spain, during the debate
in the Senate on the Constitution
(Amendment) Bill, 2014, and
over the weekend. Sunday was
to have been their last day on
3-month extension for Salvatori vendors
Fixin TnT and other interest
groups against the Constitu-
tion (Amendment) Bill 2014
intend to call on President
Anthony Carmona and the
Government to revoke the
appointment of Independent
Senator Dr Dhanayshar
This was the word from Fixin
TnT head Kirk Waithe yesterday
as he outlined the next step in
the plan of action for the pro-
testers who are saying even
though the bill was passed their
fight is far from over.
"In fact, it (the fight against
it) has only just begun," said
Apart from Fixin TnT, the
People s National Movement
(PNM), Movement for Social
Justice (MSJ), Independent Lib-
eral Party (ILP) and a number
of individuals, including former
member of the Constitution
Reform Commission Dr Merle
Hodge and Attilah Springer,
have been staging protest
demonstrations outside Parlia-
ment since the bill went to the
Lower House last month.
The bill was passed in the
Upper House last week with
the support of three Independ-
ent Senators---Mahabir, Dr
Rolph Balgobin and David
Small. There were 18 votes for
the bill and 12 against it. (See
But Mahabir, whose amend-
ment to the controversial runoff
clause was accepted by the Gov-
ernment, has been singled out
for special attack by the pro-
"He has a lot of explaining
to do," Waithe said yesterday.
Mahabir has been targeted
because of comments he made
in a 2007 interview with the
T&T Guardian after the results
of the general election that year.
The PNM won 26 seats and
the UNC Alliance, a combina-
tion of the UNC and smaller
parties, 15 seats.
Mahabir is reported to have
said: "We know now beyond
any doubt that the country has
no room for a third force.
"The third party will always
be the spoiler. What we have
seen is such elections favour
the ruling party."
Waithe, Springer and others
have interpreted that to mean
that Mahabir is against third
parties. They say this starkly
contradicts Mahabir s position
on the current bill, in which he
proposed an amendment to give
third place candidates in an
election a chance to contest the
runoff if no one initially gains
at least 50 per cent of the votes.
Waithe said no small group
of people (the Government) and
one Independent Senator must
be allowed to change the Con-
stitution without the people s
He had a solution.
"Withdraw the bill and call
a referendum. If 50 per cent of
the people are in favour of the
bill we will accept that," he said.
Waithe said even though
there was no legislation to call
a referendum, Parliament could
quickly pass the law.
In the meantime, they are
going to call for Mahabir s
removal and are exploring legal
and other options.
"This is part of our plan of
action. It is far from over. It has
only just begun. We will con-
tinue to work to stop the runoff,"
Asked to state how the runoff
could interfere with the fair
process of an election, Waithe
said what they were really
protesting is the spirit in which
the whole thing was done. That
there was no consultation on
the runoff is their major grouse.
Springer did not want to dis-
close details of their plans. "We
have to be vigilant about what s
going on," she said.
She said it was not NGOs but
mostly individuals who were
protesting the bill outside Par-
Efforts to reach Hodge and
Mahabir were unsuccessful yes-
Fixin TnT wants
Mahabir firedFollowing is the excerpt of the
T&T Guardian article which is
now being revisited by Fixin TnT
in its calls for Mahabir's
Economist Dr Dhanayshar
Mahabir, lecturer at the University
of the West Indies, has advised
the Congress of the People (COP)
to fold now and quickly.
Contacted yesterday for his
views on the outcome of
Monday's general election,
Mahabir said the results were a
historical replay of past elections
spoiled by the infamous "third
"First off, we know now beyond
any doubt that the country has
no room for third force," he said.
"The third party will always be
the spoiler. What we have seen is
such elections favour the ruling
He recalled the 1981 election
where the Organisation for
National Reconstruction (ONR)
copped 91,000 votes but held no
This was repeated in 1991 with
the National Alliance for
Reconstruction (NAR) grabbing
120,000 votes but ended up
"Now, we see it again," he said
pointing out that while the COP
was able to pull some votes, even
the leader Winston Dookeran lost
In addition to not winning any
seats, Mahabir said, the COP had
a catastrophic effect on the
marginal constituencies, causing
the UNC to lose those which it
had won the last time around.
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