Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 22nd 2013 Contents A5
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley was
surprisingly subdued last night,
given that the results of yesterday s
local government elections sig-
nalled a victory for his party, says
Michael Harris, political commen-
tator and newspaper columnist.
Harris, who was among a panel
on CNC3 TV last night, noted the
mood of the PNM leader as he spoke
at Balisier House, Port-of-Spain,
around 10.30 pm.
"It was not the kind of demeanour
that you would expect from a vic-
torious leader. But I would say the
PNM has done well, they have
rebounded from 2010," Harris said.
He said, however, before the PNM
could launch into general-election
mode it was clear Rowley had "cer-
tain things to settle within the party."
The panel was chaired by deputy
managing director/managing editor
of Guardian Media Ltd (GML) Dr
CEO of the T&T Chamber of
Industry and Commerce Catherine
Kumar said she too was surprised
by Rowely s reaction.
"I was quite surprised at Dr Row-
ley s demeanour. I expected a more
jubilant person, someone talking
about victory and I am not sure why
he appeared to be so subdued,"
Interim political leader of the
Independent Liberal Party (ILP), Jack
Warner, whose address to supporters
was also screened during the pro-
gramme, described the party as
T&T s third political force.
But Harris said Warner had no
choice but to put a positive spin on
"Obviously he has to put the best
face on it. But it must be a devas-
tating blow to him," Harris added.
Panellist Nirad Tewarie, CEO of
the Coalition of Service Industries
(TTCSI) said from the results, he
had sensed a "softening of the sup-
port of the ILP."
"It was not the same over the last
couple of weeks. A lot of people said,
We supported Jack Warner as our
representative because we felt he
would give us what we wanted, and
what we wanted could range from
services to him being there...when
things happen, but we would not
support him for prime minister or
in the local election, and it seems
that was what has happened, by and
large," Tewarie added.
How sweet it is for the People s
National Movement to have won
the local government elections.
This was the statement of the
party s leader Dr Keith Rowley in
his victory speech at Balisier House
shortly before 10 pm last night.
Call the general election now,
Rowley demanded of Prime Minister
Yesterday s victory was the first
for the party under Rowley s lead-
ership in an election in Trinidad.
"From the preliminary results we
have won a number of corporations
and we have made our presence felt
in every corporation," Rowley told
He said the only corporation in
which the PNM did not win a dis-
trict was in Penal/Debe, but the
party had won all the districts in
Port-of-Spain and Diego Martin.
"We have taken back the corpo-
ration in Arima, Sangre Grande, we
have won handsomely in San Fer-
nando and we have lost very nar-
rowly in Siparia," Rowley said.
He said what was most interesting
and satisfying was the PNM s per-
formance in Chaguanas, where it
polled the highest number of votes
without winning the most districts
"The PNM is very happy as it has
rebuilt itself over the past three years
after the massive defeat in the 2010
general election at the hands of the
People s Partnership," Rowley said.
Commenting on Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar s claim that
it was a people s victory, Rowley
said: "We have won this election
and if, in the face of a humiliating
defeat, the PM feels that she has
won, why take away her toy?"
He said the defeat of the PP
meant: "The Government has col-
lapsed and is in office as a collapsed
For the PNM, yesterday s historic
victory meant "we are on the way
to winning the general election,"
he declared, saying if the Govern-
ment really cared for the people,
the PM "would call the general
election now, having lost her man-
In response to a question Rowley
said the party s campaign shifted
to St Joseph today.
The party s internal election, he
said, would be held early next year.
Declaring yesterday s local gov-
ernment results a national victory,
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar last night extended an
olive branch to the opposition to
work together in the interest of
Arriving to the rhythms of tassa
at her Penal constituency office,
Persad-Bissessar declared that the
UNC had not been wiped out, but
had retained its base: Penal/Debe,
Princes Town, Mayaro and
"And the greatest challenge for
us was in Chaguanas, so guess
what? We did not lose. Seeing those
results this evening, we have our
base in all those areas.
"We contested only eight of the
corporations. One we have never
won. So I concede San Juan Laven-
tille---we never won it in the last
election, but we won our UNC seats
in that corporation."
Calling on all citizens to rise, feel
proud and take a bow, she said it
was the first time in the country s
history that every single person who
voted had won, because for the first
time every single vote had won.
"And so I say tonight is a national
celebration of a true people s victory.
It is not a government victory, it is
an opposition victory, it is not any-
body s victory, it is a people s victory
tonight," the PM said.
"And so I express the hope that
all parties in the partnership and
in the opposition, let us put aside
the acrimony of the campaign of
the last few weeks. I call on every-
one now to join hands as we take
our seats at the council tables. We
pledge only one interest now as we
move forward---the people s inter-
Saying the splitting of votes has
always a been a great concern, she
said that was why the need for pro-
portional representation became so
"Local government comes the
closest to not only delivering to
people, but also knowing people,
dealing with people and ensuring
that people s interest will always
come before politics."
She said in next few days the
EBC will apply the formula for pro-
portional representation in the leg-
Independent Liberal Party (ILP)
interim leader Jack Warner last
night named his party the third
political force in the country,
despite the fact that it failed to
grab any of the five corporations
it expected to win in the local gov-
Addressing a small, sombre
crowd at the party s headquarters
at Mulchan Seuchan Road,
Chaguanas, Warner, putting on a
brave face, said the ILP had won
the popular vote and this showed
the party was forging ahead.
He said the ILP had rendered
the Congress of the People (COP)
"A four-month old party has
changed the political paradigm in
the country," Warner said. "Never
before has a local government elec-
tion been contested with such
intensity. We have a lot to be
thankful for. We shall stand firm
and continue to build."
Congratulating the PNM and
the UNC, Warner said the ILP s
candidates would work with the
elected councillors in the various
"In a real sense, we shall be more
visible now than before," he
Warner said the ILP will use the
popular support it gained in the
local government elections in its
campaign in St Joseph.
The ILP will have a walkabout
with its St Joseph by-election can-
didate, Om Lalla, tomorrow, he
Earlier, an emotional ILP interim
chairman Robin Montano, address-
ing the media, said the results had
shown the country had retreated
from the promise of July 29 back
to tribal politics.
The ILP s devastating loss came
after Warner s by-election win in
Chaguanas West, a UNC strong-
"We failed today. That doesn t
matter. We didn t reach the stars
but we passed the moon," Montano
"Win, lose or draw, we are a
force to be reckoned with. I am
proud of the effort we put in. I
think that no matter what anybody
says, the ILP has done a fantastic
Vowing that the ILP will end the
racial divide, Montano told the
nation to watch out for the party
in the 2015 general election and
insisted it would win the November
4 St Joseph by-election.
PM extends olive branch to opposition
Let's work for
Warner: ILP now
3rd political force
Analysts surprised by subdued Rowley
PNM supporters celebrate at Balisier House, Port-of-Spain, last night. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
Call general election
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