Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 19th 2013 Contents YVONNE BABOOLAL
Independent St Joseph by-
election candidate Errol Fabien
has a different campaign style
from his four other competi-
Instead of having political
meetings, he says, he has lis-
"People come out and talk
about what they want and I lis-
ten," he said.
Fabien said the idea came to
him during walkabouts in the
constituency. "I found out that
was what I was doing more than
anything else (listening)."
"That s what parliamentary
representatives have to do.
Somehow, it s gotten into our
culture that politicians have to
only talk and make promises."
The big meeting with a bat-
tery of speakers and entertainers
and the walkabouts with a large
entourage does not work for
Plus, he still does not have
any money. "I can t beat them
at that and they can t beat me
at what I do, connecting with
And how many people came
to his listenings? "I ve only had
informal listenings so far. There
were about 20 people or so."
Fabien said last night s session
was formally planned and
expected to draw more people.
He has been going on his
walkabouts alone, too. "I ring
doorbells and I talk to people.
"That s what I bring to this,
the personal touch. This is not
a show, I don t have an
entourage. I go to ask people
what they want and how I can
He has done walkabouts in
Mt Lambert, St Joseph and
North Valsayn and "chatted with
some farmers in Aranguez".
Fabien said he does not want
campaign funding from business
people. "I don t want to be
beholden to any business. I have
T-shirts and I accept a minimum
of $20 for them.
"Some people give $30, $60,
So does he have a campaign
headquarters and a campaign
"My campaign headquarters
is upstairs Yummy Tummy on
the Southern Main Road,
Curepe. I have a campaign co-
ordinator and a campaign con-
Asked how people have been
responding to him, Fabien said,
"I ve had good responses and
great encouragement. People
said they will vote for me.
"Some ask me what I will do
for them. These are the ones I
have to explain what the role of
to represent them. I am not
going to promise them things
they are entitled to, like street-
lights, bridges, security."
Fabien, a radio host and tel-
evision company owner, is best
known by the national commu-
nity as a comedian.
Asked how, based on the sup-
port he got, he thought he will
fare in the election, he said, "I
don t know how to translate that
into votes. I don t have the
money for the election machin-
ery to find that out."
The by-election takes place
on November 4, and his com-
petitors are Crime Watch host
Ian Alleyne for the People s Part-
nership, Om Lalla for the Inde-
pendent Liberal Party, former
senator Terrence Deyalsingh for
the People s National Movement
and Michael Lopez for the Dem-
ocratic National Assembly.
Saturday, October 19, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Bamboo No. 1 yesterday wel-
comed UNC St Joseph candidate
Ian Alleyne with open arms,
handshakes, kisses and several
requests to get certain issues
Accompanied by a large con-
tingent of yellow-clad supporters
and led by a music truck playing
his signature tune UNC and Ian
Alleyne coming, Alleyne, the host
of the Crime Watch TV pro-
gramme, walked through the
community meeting residents
and familiarising himself with
He was prepared for requests,
listening to residents concerns
and collecting information.
Introducing Alleyne around
was UNC St Joseph co-ordinator
Ganga Singh and UNC con-
stituency officials. Many in the
the village west of the Grand
Bazaar complex, vowed to remain
UNC and people came out to
their gates, driveways and porch-
es to greet and see Alleyne as
the UNC "posse" passed.
The village s oldest farmer,
90-year-old Ramsundar Sookoo,
shook hands warmly with
Alleyne, saying "I m behind Ian
100 per cent. He will get our
Chandai Ramlogan, the first
to meet Alleyne, gave his team
of note takers information on
her drainage problems. She said:
"We never saw the former MP,
we hope the candidate will do
better and help us."
She said she didn t think ex-
MP Herbert Volney should have
crossed to the ILP since he had
been elected under the UNC.
Koon Koon Thackoor whose
family occupies several homes
said, "The former MP betrayed
us. He started off well but he fell
down and later neglected the
Other members of the Thack-
oor family said Volney---who
joined the ILP---had promised to
erect a dome for their village
temple, but had not fulfilled it.
Mootilal Satram and his wife
said, "We never followed Jack
(Warner) and this ILP now, we
in this area always for the UNC
and Kamla so we re happy to
meet Mr Alleyne."
The Seepersads of Singh Street
said, "We hope he wins. It s good
that he went up for the UNC."
Tiluckdharry Ramrattan and
his relatives said, "Mr Alleyne
has a very good chance compared
to the last representative. We like
Alleyne, we re literally seeing
progress---look at this road it was
recently paved. But we still have
other things we need to get
done---sluice gates and so on.
But I can say this area will remain
Alleyne, while elated with the
Bamboo reception, expressed
disappointment in the ethics of
former colleagues who he said
had aired details of his salary
package and other personal infor-
mation on the ILP platform.
Alleyne said such confidential
information could only have been
in the possession of former
On questions raised about
him, Alleyne told the T&T
Guardian he had bought a Range
Rover which would be transferred
soon. He said he could state from
whom he had bought it. He also
said his accountants were also
able to talk about his tax returns.
Alleyne said his former attorney
and current competitor for the
St Joseph seat, Om Lalla, was
fully aware of several of his per-
sonal transactions. He said they
had been friends, but it now
seems client confidentiality had
Bamboo welcomes Ian YVONNE WEBB
For the first time since 1965, former prime
minister and founder of the United National
Congress Basdeo Panday will not be casting a
vote in Monday s local government elections.
This is because of his disappointment with
the state to which the politics has descended
and the lack of constitutional reform.
"I have been voting consistently since 1965,
but this year I will not be voting. Voting under
the present constitution is an exercise in futility,"
Panday said yesterday.
"I can vote for the party I founded, but I would
want to know why I should vote, would there
be change. As far as I can see there would not
"After the elections, no one would be better
off," he said, pointing out that would not be the
fault of the elected councillors, but rather the
political system under which we operate.
He said councillors get blamed when their
constituents ask them to get things done and
they can t.
"That is because the Government releases
money when and how and why they want. So
unless there is meaningful reform, including local
government reform, voting is an exercise in futil-
ity. It has been so for the last 50 years and it is
time we change the constitution.
"I believe constitutional reform is the single
most critical problem facing the country."
Commenting on the state of the politics, and
the nasty campaign mounted by some of the
platforms, Panday expressed disappointment
that the country s leaders had sunk so low.
"I believe sometimes, people and countries
get into a slide and they cannot stop until they
hit rock bottom. We are soon going to hit rock
bottom, politically and out of the ashes, the
phoenix will rise, hopefully better this time
No vote from
me, says Panday
Fabien's unique campaign...listening
Independent St Joseph
candidate Errol Fabien
PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
While he does not plan to participate in elec-
toral politics, former attorney general Ramesh
Lawrence Maharaj, SC, has confirmed that he
will soon meet with Independent Liberal Party
(ILP) interim leader Jack Warner to discuss
issues of good governance.
Maharaj made the disclosure while speaking
to reporters outside the Hall of Justice, Knox
Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday afternoon.
Maharaj said he was contacted by Warner on
Thursday morning and agreed to have a meeting
"I am not in electoral politics and don t intend
to go back in electoral politics. I have been meeting
with the opposition leaders in this country and
have been talking with them and even working
with some of them on issues of governance and
the rule of law."
He said in the interest of equality, he has
agreed to meet with Warner as he is the interim
leader of a new political party. "I cannot talk
about what we will agree upon, what we will
discuss but I will certainly meet him."
Maharaj said Thursday s conversation was his
first with Warner since their Ramjack faction of
the United National Congress was dissolved in
the run-up to the 2010 general elections.
"I had told Jack Warner at the time that if
Kamla Persad-Bissessar became the leader of
the UNC and if she became the prime minister
of T&T, T&T will be in a crisis situation.
"He agreed with me that I was right and I am
very sorry that I am right because this country
is in trouble."
No electoral politics
UNC candidate for the St Joseph constituency Ian Alleyne greets
90-year-old Ramsundar Sookoo during a walkabout in Bamboo
Settlement #1, Valsayn, yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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