Sixty-nine percent of Chaguanas West yesterday decided that disgraced football administrator, foremost anti-transparency advocate and truth-challenged politician Jack Warner was more trustworthy than Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her cardboard cut-out candidate Khadijah Ameen.
The Chaguanas West by-election ended a surreal three month period for the constituency as voters metaphorically cowered in the corner and looked on as two scavengers fought for their hides. It might have been tempting for constituents to feel flattered but, no matter who won, they were going to be someone’s lunch.
Politicians have long viewed Trinidad and Tobago citizens as no more than walking voting instruments. And voters invariably compound their own problems by letting MPs have the wrong finger.
Persad-Bissessar told supporters last night that they were still in Government and had “26 seats in the Parliament and maybe 27 depending on what happens.” The fact that she needed to remind people who was Prime Minister spoke volumes.
Not to mention the stark reality that the Prime Minister does not know how many seats she has.
Mr Live Wire expects that Persad-Bissessar will spend the rest of the week ordering President Anthony “Lord Pussyfoot” Carmona to vacate whatever building he happens to be in, just to prove to herself that she’s still got it.
Let’s help the PM with some Parliamentary mathematics:
Winston “Gypsy” Peters, who knows a sinking ship when he sees one, was first to join Warner’s celebratory party. They were quickly joined by Dr Fuad Khan and Herbert Volney and, if they all switch sides, the People’s Partnership is down to 25 of 41 available seats.
Khan, is the former UNC deputy political leader, but he never made it on to the Prime Minister’s “My Lime” list and might have felt uncomfortable at the ruling party’s big play of its Hindu roots in recent weeks.
Like Khan, Warner is an avowed Muslim. Of course, Warner is also a Hindu and Christian, which might make the swearing-in process rather tricky.
Religion is overrated in politics and Trinidad and Tobago life at present anyway. The fact that Warner is more comfortable in church than court does not say much for God’s regional directors.
But let’s get back to local politics.
Warner would probably have Anil Roberts and Rupert Griffith at “hello.” While a defection by the TOP, who snubbed the UNC’s Chaguanas West campaign, could cause the PP to shrink to 21 seats.
It would then take only one departure from any of Clifton De Couteau, Nizam Baksh, Stacy Roopnarine, Jairam Seemungal and Colin Partap to make the Prime Minister and the Government vulnerable to a No Confidence Motion.
In the past week, the Attorney General’s security detail knocked down one Chaguanas West resident and drove off without offering assistance. While a young man said he was assaulted by an unnamed Minister, near a polling station, after he warned the Minister about trying to influence votes.
Chaguanas West voters decided the party that left them bleeding on the streets and beat them up at the polling station could not be trusted to deliver on its health care promises. And, at the polls, Ameen got the type of enthusiastic spanking that should be reserved for one’s wedding night and might have turned her new fiancé Mitra Rampersad green with envy.
The Prime Minister will now spend the remaining two years fending for her constituencies. Unless she lets the smirking Warner back into her PP. And he would probably want much more than a few firetrucking contracts.
In the words of popular local necromaniac, Ian Alleyne: The hunt is on.