Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 3rd 2013 Contents A29
Saturday, August 3, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Iwrite in response to the com-
ments of a consultant/apolo-
gist for a newspaper and self-
acclaimed expert on facial
expressions and physiognomy
in addition to being the ulti-
mate authority on Creole socie-
ty, consciousness and agenda.
On July 16 I wrote a letter to
the newspapers in which I stat-
ed that, in the past, the major-
ity of people tended to vote
party rather than individual and
that ethnic loyalty by and large
trumped service and dedication
I based my initial prognosis
on my own experience in the
Oropouche constituency which
I served for 20 years with
unmatched devotion, dedica-
tion, commitment, hard work
and sacrifice. I went far beyond
the call of duty as a parliamen-
In the elections of 2001, all
that counted for nought as
constituents were overwhelm-
ingly influenced by the propa-
ganda that I was "anti-Indian,"
that I collaborated with an
"African" party, went against
the first "Indian" Prime Minis-
ter and brought down an "Indi-
an" government. I rebutted
these accusations but without
effect. I lost my deposit.
After writing on July 16, I
attended a few of the public
meetings held both by Jack
Warner and the UNC and
spoke to several people in the
constituency, after which I was
of the view that Jack Warner
would win and therefore his
victory on July 29 came as no
surprise to me despite what
was read into my facial expres-
sions on television.
Chaguanas West in 2013
proved to be different from
Oropouche in 2001. The main
reason for this conclusion was
that the UNC s attack on Jack
Warner as a collaborator of the
PNM, as being anti-Indian and
seeking to bring down an
"Indian" government, found lit-
tle traction in the minds of the
majority of constituents. He
was able to point to his own
record as a protagonist for
Indo-Trinidadian and Hindu
causes and the recalcitrance of
the UNC leadership in rejecting
his overtures to them.
In addition, he captured the
enthusiasm of young people,
the gratitude of older folks and
the sympathy of those whom
he encouraged to believe that
he was unfairly treated by the
leadership of the UNC. His
public-relations exercises were
more productive than the
UNC s. He projected himself as
a beacon of integrity and hope
in a sea of political arrogance,
apathy, corruption and abuse of
He exploited the pervasive
anti-UNC sentiment among
erstwhile supporters. He
deflected accusations of bribery,
unethical conduct and unlawful
enrichment by simple denial.
He maximised the advantages
of his image of dedication, hard
work, performance, caring and
generosity. He met the UNC s
gender appeal to constituents
by publicising the support of
women of all ages on his own
He therefore effectively con-
fronted the UNC s challenge on
- Lessons to learn from
Chaguanas West outcome
The vociferous and acrimonious cam-
paigning for the Chaguanas West is over,
with the victor never in doubt.
The majority of that constituency's
electorate faulted the PM and her Cabi-
net for ostracising Mr Warner and gener-
ally being ungrateful to Mr Warner after
"he put she in government." Stopping
short of calling the PM a "neemakaram,"
the electorate voted for the man who has
served them well, who was their MP
through thick and thin.
When the PM failed to listen to them
they gave her a lesson in humility by vot-
ing for Mr Warner in droves. A traditional
UNC seat went green, blocking out the
It's a humbling lesson for the PM and
her Cabinet, who have lost touch with the
grassroots people who elected her and
her MPs to govern. It's time for them to
step out of their Prados and start walking
in their constituencies, hearing the con-
cerns, the issues and making a concerted
effort to make a difference.
Mr Warner did not reach the echelons
of Fifa to become VP by not learning how
to manoeuvre and strategise to win sup-
port. If one lesson that can be learnt
from this election, it is that politicians
need to remember who put them there.
The power of democracy, the power of
the electorate should not be easily for-
gotten or shunted aside.
The other political parties, the COP,
TOP and the PNM, should not gloat at
this turn of events, they should also look
at the quality of their representation in
their respective constituencies. Those
who laugh at what happened in Chagua-
nas West would be foolish to think it can
never happen to them. A disillusioned
electorate is an angry electorate and MPs
should be concerned.
People are fed up of talk of cabal, cor-
ruption and plundering of the Treasury.
MPs were elected to serve the people,
not line their pockets, because the money
you steal now you will end up paying
English-trained lawyers to prevent you
from partying in the "big yard," and I am
not referring to the Queen's Park Savan-
nah.Chaguanas West has spoken, they
have chosen Mr Warner with his Fifa
baggage and allegations of domestic cor-
ruption following in his wake. They have
chosen what is familiar, they have chosen
their anointed "Robin Hood," who has
threatened to unleash a green revolution
with the upcoming local government
The PP government can learn from
their mistakes and restore confidence in
their ability to govern or Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessesar like her prede-
cessor will pay the ultimate price for ig-
noring the electorate and in time she will
become a single-term female Prime Min-
R Bernadette Shah
Khadijah shines with
Do permit me to extend my congratu-
lations to Ms Khadijah Ameen on her
concession speech, which was her finest
hour of the entire election campaign.
Ironically, at her lowest ebb, she rose
to the greatest heights to outshine each
and every speaker that night. The con-
tent of her speech, her grace, and, most
surprisingly, the confident manner of her
delivery were superb.
I had thought her to be more foolhardy
than courageous in agreeing to be the
sacrificial lamb to be slaughtered on the
altar of hubris, but now, I wonder. I had
listened to her and wondered nightly why
my namesake, Hazel, did not use some of
the funds from the campaign to put more
women in Parliament, to provide Ms
Ameen with elocution lessons, but
clearly, that was a transformed woman
we saw on Monday night, one, who with
the correct guidance and in the appropri-
ate time and place, could fulfil her desire
to be a parliamentary representative.
And believe you me, I do not think her
metamorphosis had anything to do with
her brand new engagement ring.
Congratulations, Ms Ameen!
Help us get rid of
mosquitoes in Arima
We've been complaining about a mos-
quito invasion in Arima. They're all over
and although we discard empty contain-
ers and other garbage, it does not help.
Using sprays and other gadgets also
prove to be futile.
Our families are at risk and we know
the danger we face. Last month one resi-
dent was treated for dengue and we are
worried our children may get sick too.
The treatment for dengue is expensive
and this disease can spread easily.
We are asking the authorities to deal
with this problem before it gets worse.
We need to live in a clean and safe envi-
ronment so hope to get results soon.
First of all let me congratulate Mr Jack Warner on
his victory at the polls last Monday.
Let me also congratulate the voters of Chaguanas
West for their participation in this democratic exercise.
Mr Warner's latest remark about the PP Government
is that his party cannot join with the PP because of the
style of the PP Government.
I am bemused. Was not Mr Jack Warner, up until the
Simmons report, a senior cabinet minister and chairman
of the UNC, sitting on the right-hand side of the PM in
Did anyone hear him complain about the style of the
PP Government prior to the Simmons report?
Did Mr Warner not campaign heavily with the PP in
Tobago, where all seats of the TOP were lost? Was he
not then a lead spokesman for the PP?
Was Mr Warner not the main man for the UNC in ne-
gotiations for seats with the COP at both the 2010 gen-
eral and local government elections?
Was it not Mr Warner who from 2010-2013 was the
most vocal defender of the style of the Government
even from criticisms from the COP?
Somebody please help me, I am confused.
BY-ELECTION RESULTS NO SURPRISE
Confused about Warner's stance
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