Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 1st 2015 Contents A3
March 1, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Pupils of the Debe Hindu School perform during yesterday's Primary School Chowtal Sammelan
competition at the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha headquarters in St Augustine.
PHOTO: EDISON BOODOOSINGH See Page A12
An umbrella body as a political
vehicle---and possibly another
party---which Gary and Nicole Dyer-
Griffith are building with Jack Warn-
er s ILP, the Movement for Social
Justice (MSJ), Joint Trade Union
Movement (JTUM), and other small
groups held its first meeting yes-
But former COP leader, Winston
Dookeran, has hesitated regarding
any talks with the entity.
The development towards yet
another political alternative came
three weeks after Griffith was axed
from the PP Cabinet---and former
attorney general Anand Ramlogan
resigned---because of Police Com-
plaints Authority Director David
West s witness-tampering allegations
against Ramlogan. Griffith has given
police a statement corroborating
West s allegations.
Griffith said two initial meetings
towards forming the umbrella body
were held recently. But the entity s
first official meeting was held yes-
terday with ten people including
The meeting followed resignations
from the COP by Griffith s wife,
Nicole Dyer-Griffith, last Sunday,
several Diego Martin COP officials
and businessmen Joe Pires and Con-
rad Aleong. The latter two were
among those who pioneered the COP.
Aleong was also involved in the now-
defunct Citizens Alliance with Wen-
dell Mottley (now Unit Trust chair-
Griffith said, "The two larger parties
will require this third force to win
and form government. Due to the
loss of confidence with the COP there
are 200,000 marginal (floating) voters.
We ll galvanise them under this
umbrella body and let the two major
parties, who have 250,000 voters
each, know they cannot win without
our backing. This is to ensure there s
no repeat of 2010.
"Marginal voters have no intention
to support a Sat Maharaj-type Gov-
ernment---according to his recent
comments---in which marginal voters
are viewed as a nuisance and irrel-
In yesterday s TG political column,
Warner confirmed he and Griffith
had continued speaking after Griffith
took over Warner s National Security
portfolio in 2013 and he intended
now to speak to both Griffiths. Warn-
er hinted another coalition would
arise "at the appropriate time.
Asked if Warner was co-ordinating
the effort, Griffith said Warner was
just one of several involved. Griffith
said the core group included "major
activists and people, including Fixin
T&T." He said the ten at yesterday s
meeting represented various groups
and that the group had the backing
of business people.
He referred the Sunday Guardian
to MSJ s David Abdulah, but Abdulah
did not answer his cellphone.
Asked if OWTU leader Ancel
Roget, who belongs to the JTUM,
was on board, Griffith said, "Not yet."
Asked if the group included
PNMites from Arima who were frag-
mented over the rejection of Penny
Beckles-Robinson as PNM candidate
in the next general election, he also
said, "Not yet."
On whether the new force would
seek to link with the PNM, Griffith
said the PNM had signalled during
the term that it was not averse to
linking with other parties. He said
the perception had been that third
forces should automatically join with
the UNC, but, he said, the UNC treat-
ed them with disrespect "like COP s."
He said he didn t know the impact
of the vehicle on the PNM, but felt
both the PNM and UNC wanted
Warner s support.
He said the 200,000 floating voters
were largely middle class, but also
included PNM and UNC "grassroots."
Griffith said: "ILP got more Local
Government votes than COP. While
ILP now may not be as strong as it
was, it had grassroots support from
all sides. An amalgam of all our
groups, possibly even COP, will be
the foundation of a formidable third
Griffith said planning continues
this week with "other affiliates." Grif-
fith suggested Dookeran s view be
sought on the umbrella body. But
Dookeran, when contacted on
whether he would join the group was
briefly silent, before saying, "I don t
know about that at all..."
Suruj: We wish them well
UNC deputy leader Suruj Ram-
bachan said, "We wish them well.
The public is much more intelligent
than to throw away their votes and
cause the PNM to slip into office,
knowing the PP has delivered on its
• See Pages A4, A5
Griffith, ILP, MSJ, JTUM, Fixin' T&T
unite to sway undecided voters
Dookeran on Thursday said he felt "reconceptualisation " is needed and
dialogue with the COP and Dyer-Griffith was positive. That was in
response to her statement that she said she wanted to talk to him about
his 2014 book, where Dookeran said the "political crisis is here, in 2014
and fragmented society wanted the highest ground of noble purpose."
Dookeran noted calls for new approach to politics and government" and
this requiring a new initiative and reconceptualisation of political
Dookeran is having a minor eye operation and is going to a Caricom
meeting in Berlin next week.
Former COP chairman Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan said she heard about
the Griffith group, but declined comment.
While Nicole Dyer-Griffith continues
to play coy about her political future,
she is quietly attempting to unite the
undecideds and forces opposed to the
Peoples Partnership and People s
However, political analyst Maukesh
Basdeo contends that a political vehicle
must be used, either a united front or
a new political party, if Dyer-Griffith
intends to translate her united forces
Yesterday, Basdeo, in a telephone
interview, said Dyer-Griffith was trying
to harness people who were not aligned
to any of the established political parties,
and those who were disenchanted with
the PNM and the PP.
However, he said, for her to translate
that movement into votes "you have to
identify it in the form of political can-
didates and so forth and easiest way I
see it at this point in time is you have
individuals going up as independent
candidates and you identify with these
This, he said, would be difficult given
T&T s electoral history "as voters tend
to identify more with political candidates
than independent candidates."
For Dyer-Griffith to achieve her ends,
he said, "there has to be a political vehi-
cle, either any of the established political
parties that currently exist or the for-
mation of a new political party."
This, he said, would become the
means through which she could trans-
form her intentions into a political reality.
He hastened to add a party could be
formed in a short space of time since
it was just a case of registering a party
name and symbol with the Elections
and Boundaries Commission (EBC.)
Independent Liberal Party leader Jack
Warner, he said, did that last year in the
Chaguanas West by-election.
Basdeo said if Dyer-Griffith were suc-
cessful in her unifying thrust she could
split the votes and be the spoiler in the
2015 general elections.
'Nicole needs a party'
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