Kidnapping / Elections / Help Us! Caribbean / Tobago & Trinidad
Six who would be PM
Six very different prime ministerial hopefuls from six very different political parties have begun their cross-country trek, in a bid to win the nod from the electorate.
Promising governmental reform, a solution for crime, along with a lot of mudslinging, leaders of the People’s National Movement, United National Congress, National Alliance for Reconstruction, National Team Unity, Citizens Alliance and the Democratic Party of T&T are professing confidence in their respective party’s victory.
Since 1961, 21 parties have raised their heads, fielded candidates then disappeared, never to be heard from again after having failed to win even one seat.
Here’s a look at those who want to lead T&T for the next five years.
Democratic Party of T&T
Symbol — Hummingbird feeding on red hibiscus.
Track Record — None.
Party philosophy: The time has come for all ordinary citizens to look at the politicians and say: “We will not follow you blindly.”
Leader — Steve Alvarez, 45.
• Project manager at NH International, the Emile Elias Group company.
• Lived in New Jersey, US for 10 years. Returned to Trinidad in 1999. Has no public profile because he has not been on the political scene for any period of time.
• Party’s manifesto promises a new transportation system, reviewing the Emancipation and Indian Arrival Day holidays, introducing free healthcare, increasing the wages of the police and other security forces and empowering Local Government representatives.
United National Congress
Established in 1991.
Symbol — A rising sun.
Track record — Formed the Government from 1995 to 2000; 2000 to 2001. Removed from office when with 18-18 deadlock, President Arthur NR Robinson selected Patrick Manning as Prime Minister.
Leader — Basdeo Panday, 69.
• Expected to contest the Couva North seat.
• Married to Oma (his second marriage). Has four daughters.
• In politics since 1966. Lost Naparima South seat on Workers and Farmers Party slate.
• Subsequently led All Trinidad Estates and Factories Trade Union. Alliance with Raffique Shah and George Weekes to form United Labour Front.
• Elected MP for Couva North in 1976, first time Couva constituency divided into Couva North and Couva South, as leader of ULF.
• Appointed Opposition Leader by President Ellis Clarke when ULF won ten seats, while Democratic Action Congress led by Arthur NR Robinson had won two seats in Tobago.
• In 1977, Shah and five other ULF MPs broke ranks.
President Ellis Clarke revoked his appointment. Shah Opposition Leader. MP Winston Nanan defected and returned to Panday. On March 31, 1978, Shah resigned, Panday reappointed Opposition Leader.
• 1981 — Panday, Robinson and Lloyd Best formed the National Alliance to contest the general election against then PM George Chambers. They lost to the PNM.
• By 1985 joined with DAC, ONR, Tapia to form National Alliance for Reconstruction. Won 33 of 36 seats in December 1986. Robinson appointed PM, Panday Minister of Foreign Affairs.
• By 1988, Panday split with Robinson, formed Club 88 as a pressure group within the NAR. Panday, Kelvin Ramnath, Trevor Sudama and John Humphrey expelled from NAR.
• Following the attempted coup of 1990, Club ‘88 successfully had President Noor Hassanali revoke appointment of Manning as Opposition Leader. Panday Opposition Leader.
• United National Congress formed.
Panday has expressed confidence in his party’s chances of securing enough seats to form the government in the upcoming election.
National Team Unity
Established as Team Unity in 2001; name change in 2002.
Symbol — Rainbow.
Track record — no seats in last election.
Leader — Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj SC, 56.
• Expected to contest the Couva South seat.
• Constitutional lawyer. Three children — Kavita, Sushma and Ramesh Jr.
• Educated at Picton Presbyterian School, Naparima College and Inner Temple in London.
• Headed the Human Rights Bureau of T&T.
• Practising since 1968 in criminal, human rights and constitutional law.
• In 1975 was jailed for seven days by Justice Sonny Maharaj for contempt of court. Ten years later was charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of public justice, but he was later freed of the charge.
• Served as Attorney General in the UNCNAR Government from 1996 until resignation in 2001, with Trevor Sudama and Ralph Maraj.
• With them formed Team Unity.
Maharaj said yesterday his party had not yet reached a decision on whether it will contest all 36 seats, a limited number of seats or run an educational campaign.
People’s National Movement
Symbol — The balisier flower.
Track record — In Government 1962-1986, 1991-1995, 2001 to present in deadlock 18-18 situation.
Leader — Patrick Manning, 56, geologist.
• Attended San Fernando Government School from 1954 to 1957, then Presentation College, San Fernando; UWI 1966-1969, graduated as geologist.
• Worked with Texaco Trinidad Inc, from 1969 to 1971.
• Entered Parliament as member for San Fernando East in 1971 at age 25.
• Held posts as PS in the Ministry of Petroleum and Mines; PS to the PM; Minister in the Ministry of Finance; Minister in the Office of the PM, responsible for public information.
• One of three successful PNMites who won seats against NAR. Became PNM Political Leader when late George Chambers lost his St Ann’s seat and subsequently resigned from the party.
• Became the official Opposition Leader in 1987, ousted in 1988 when Panday broke ranks with NAR and was appointed to that position.
• Won 1991 election.
• Called election 1995 and lost to the UNC.
• Opposition Leader from 1995 to 2001, when on Christmas Eve 2001, was appointed Prime Minister for the second time.
Manning has expressed confidence in his party’s chances of securing enough seats to form the Government in the upcoming election.
Symbol — Torch with party’s name encircling the flame.
Track record — Did not contest last election.
Leader — Wendell Mottley, 60, likely candidate for Port-of-Spain South.
• Left the private sector for politics in 1981.
• Has three daughters, a BA in economics from Yale University, USA and a Masters in economics from Cambridge University in the UK.
• Track and field athlete with gold medal from Commonwealth Games in Jamaica and silver from 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
• Joined PNM in 1981. Has been a former Housing Minister, Industry and Commerce Minister and Tourism Minister, Finance Minister and former MP for St Ann’s East.
• PNM deputy leader 1991-1996. Resigned with Keith Rowley and Augustus Ramrekersingh.
• Former senior adviser to Credit Suisse First Boston from 1995 to 2000, specialising in energy related projects
• Director Caribbean Packaging, World Life Fund, chairman of the T&T Stocks and Shares Ltd; Member of the External Advisory Group to the President of the Inter-American Development Bank.
He believes his party offers hope for the future when fear stalks the land.
National Alliance for Reconstruction
Track record — no seats in the last election.
Leader — Lennox Sankersingh.
• Separated, with two sons.
• Attended San Fernando Boys’ RC then Naparima College; BSc in chemistry and mathematics at the University of Toronto, Canada. Taught for one year at QRC before going securing LLB at UWI. Certificate in legal education from Hugh Wooding Law School.
• Lectured on law at the Cipriani Labour College and is an associate tutor at Hugh Wooding; legal counsel to Caroni (1975) Ltd from 1992 to 1999; founder of the Sou Sou Land Company.
• Director of NHA – 1987-1992
• Local Government representative 1983-1987 in Caroni County Council as representative for CaliforniaCouva.
• Chairman of the Association of Local Government Bodies 1984-1987; member of the National Planning Commission from 1987 to 1991. Director on the Sugar Industry Labour Welfare Committee 1987-1988; chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 1989-1992.Compiled by