Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 5th 2013 Contents A5
Tuesday, November 5, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
ILP St Joseph candidate Om Lalla is greeted by a supporter at the party's headquarters on
Mangra Trace, Aranguez, after the election results. PHOTO:ABRAHAM DIAZ
The victory by the People s National Move-
ment (PNM) in yesterday s St Joseph by-elec-
tion is a warning that the United National
Congress (UNC) needs to wake up and take
stock, otherwise it would again suffer defeat
in the 2015 general election, economist Indera
She made the comment during a TV6 panel
discussion on the election last night in the
wake of Terrence Deyalsingh s victory.
Speaking on a panel which also comprised
former government senator Mary King and
political analyst Dr Winford James, Sagewan-
Ali said the root of the UNC s defeat would
ultimately be blamed on the splitting of votes,
as previously warned by Prime Minister Kamla
However, she said the loss of St Joseph
painted a much larger picture.
"I don t know if you can move from a posi-
tion of such strong arrogance---to say, I told
you so, don t split the votes ---to coming to
terms with the reality," she said.
Sagewan-Ali said the Government should
be looking ahead to the general election due
in the next 18 months and now needs to take
"If they do not take stock they are accepting
defeat, because that will surely come, as night
will turn into day," Sagewan-Ali said, adding
this defeat could also signal to Persad-Bissessar
the need to "pull out a new deck of cards"
for the 2015 general election.
Earlier in the programme, James was asked
to comment on the possibility of Alleyne being
selected as a candidate. He responded: "We
have gone back to the marginality that con-
stituted the kind of voting that we did, that
it didn t matter that it was Ian or anybody
"Think of the notion of the crapaud, and
if you go back to ethnic voting, Ian Alleyne
turned out to be a crapaud."
James also chastised the UNC for using
information in a privileged way on a political
platform, adding that this was the downfall
of the party.
"We are talking about attacks, using infor-
mation against people in a privileged kind of
way; we are talking about plain nastiness that
we have seen on the campaign...I mean you
can t find it worse than on a UNC platform,"
On examining voting trends, James said the
People s Partnership got into power because
those who voted for the PP wanted a change
from the "bad practices of the PNM."
Sagewan-Ali, who echoed his sentiments,
said the quality of the campaigning has degen-
erated to a large extent.
"When you think that it cannot get worse,
it actually can, and that s a worrying thing,"
Alleyne, King said, was not honest and the
people saw through this and hence, they voted
"The (UNC) could have chosen a candidate
that could have been more credible," she added.
On another panel on I95.5FM, Dr Sheila
Rampersad suggested that the UNC did much
better than expected in part through the party s
don t split vote campaign and TV ad, in which
Alleyne appealed to the people.
Rampersad said within the last week and
a half the UNC s campaign had picked up and
could not have been underestimated.
She said after the local government elections
the party s strategy focussed on appealing to
the public to not split the vote. She said while
this strategy was not new, as it was done in
2007, what was different this time around was
that it was a public campaign.
The ad campaign, which focussed on the
ILP helping the PNM to victory in the October
21 local government elections by splitting the
votes, drew the ire of the PNM leader Dr Keith
Rowley, who threatened to take legal action
against the media houses who ran the print
and TV ads.
---with reporting by Melissa Doughty
UNC must take
stock or suffer
defeat in 2015
Congress of the People (COP) leader
Prakash Ramadhar last night said the result
of the St Joseph by-election was a wake-
up call for the Government.
In a statement issued at 10.16 pm, Ramad-
har congratulated the People s National
Movement (PNM) candidate Terrence
Deyalsingh on his win.
Even so, Ramadhar noted that turnout in
Monday s contest was lower than in 2010
and failed to deliver a majority mandate to
any candidate or political party---something
he said should concern all parties.
The COP leader noted the close race run
by Partnership candidate Ian Alleyne, despite
poll predictions that the PNM would win
in a landslide.
"The Partnership s performance sends a
strong message," he said, "that people are
not interested in returning to the failed poli-
cies of the past and nor were they swayed
by the empty rhetoric of the ILP."
Ramadhar added, however, that "the fact
remains that a majority of the votes cast in
this contest were cast against the People s
Partnership---and that should be a wake-up
call for this government, especially given
how much goodwill the coalition enjoyed
upon entering government.
"However much encouragement we can
take, the bottom line is that the opposition
prevailed," Ramadhar added.
"It is clear that we as a government must
learn from these election results and take
significant steps to attract new, and win
back old, supporters.
"I have full confidence that if we rediscover
the Partnership s original founding principles
of citizen-led reform, sustainable develop-
ment and economic growth, we can recover
from this setback and make a more inclusive
new politics a reality."
"It could have been worse."
Those were the words of interim leader of
the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) Jack Warner
as he addressed a small crowd outside the
ILP s constituency office on Mangra Trace
Warner was commending Terrence Deyals-
ingh, the People s National Movement can-
didate and the new MP for St Joseph, on his
victory in the by-election.
"I am sad that Mr Lalla will not be sitting
next to me as an MP," said Warner. "But it
could have been worse."
Deyalsingh won the seat by less than 800
votes, amassing a total of 6,356 according to
preliminary results from the Elections and
Boundaries Commission last night.
The United National Congress candidate
Ian Alleyne gained 5,577 votes while the ILP s
Om Lalla gained 1,976 votes.
"One thing this has proven is that you can t
take state resources to fight an election," said
Warner, who said he regretted the mud-
slinging of his local government elections cam-
paign, said he would never resort to gutter
He said the gutter politics was reflected in
the low voter turnout in St Joseph, which he
said was the lowest since 1956. The EBC said
the preliminary turnout was 53 per cent of
the 26, 891 potential voters.
"Fifty-six per cent was the lowest turnout
since 1956. That is a vex vote and in that vex
vote there were almost 2,000 people that were
not vexed with us," Warner said.
Lalla described his loss as a baptism by fire
and told supporters, who greeted him with
hugs and cheers, that he was going to be
preparing for the 2015 general election.
"I feel strong, good about myself and good
about the way I conducted my campaign," he
The ILP will meet on Thursday to assess
the results of the local government elections
and the St Joseph by-election.
The party s internal elections are expected
to take place on November 30.
Results a wake up call---Ramadhar
'It could have been worse'---Warner
Defeated UNC candidate Ian Alleyne addresses supporters at the party's constituency office at
Aranguez Main Road, Aranguez, last night. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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