I want to see what Panday is going to do now, he talked so much during this campaign. I read he said he doesn't want to be the leader of the opposition anymore...and he was quiet like a mouse. I'm wonder if all this end up here. Hmmmm I have my serious doubts
A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything. --Nietzsche
I think this is the end of the era of UNC and they seem to be phasing out in the same way the NAR did some years ago.
As for Panday it looks like him and the others have to face the courts now and for that reason he does not want to be the party leader. He is giving up and realizes that he does not have the confidence of the majority anymore.
Count me out
By Richard Lord
WINSTON DOOKERAN, the man tipped to replace Basdeo Panday as the Leader of the Opposition, is refusing the job.
“I don’t want that position right now,” he told the Express yesterday when asked to respond to reports that he has been recommended for the post. MP for Caroni East, Ganga Singh, who is to be the Opposition Chief Whip in Parliament, said yesterday Dookeran was to be made Opposition Leader, but Dookeran responded: “I hope not.” “I have not considered that issue (of being Opposition Leader) as yet. I am more concerned now with representation of my constituents in St Augustine,” Dookeran said. On Monday night—when it became clear that the UNC had lost the election—Panday told reporters at UNC headquarters, Rienzi Complex, Couva, that he was not interested in taking up the post of Leader of the Opposition and would give way to another member of his United National Congress (UNC).
“I don’t think I will (accept the position). The party will choose the Opposition Leader. I had enough. I would remain an MP until such time that I decide I ought not to even be an MP,” Panday said. He is expected to address the matter at a meeting this morning at Rienzi Complex, following talks yesterday with party officials and activists at his Gulf View home in La Romaine which were centred on his political future.
Among those who attended the meeting were Singh, Fifa Vice-President Jack Warner, Fyard Hosein and Ameer Edoo.
Panday also said on Monday night that he would resign as a MP within three years to allow the party to choose a successor in time for the next general election, expected in 2007. The Express understands that a meeting of the UNC parliamentary caucus is expected to discuss this matter later this week. But the move to install Dookeran as Opposition Leader is already raising objections from some UNC MPs. One view yesterday was that Dookeran had “only recently returned to the party and cannot be made Opposition Leader just like that”. Other party officials insisted that no decision has been taken on a successor to Panday. But newly-elected MP for St Joseph, Gerald Yetming, has expressed full support for Dookeran to replace Panday. Yetming told the Express yesterday: “We have not as yet held any discussions on that, but there are strong possibilities for him to assume the leadership role. I have no problems with him assuming that role, absolutely none, if he wishes to lead.”
Defeated candidate Carlos John said there were many people in the UNC who could hold the post of Opposition Leader and added that the matter ought to be decided by the party. John was certain of one thing—he could not be Opposition Leader since he had been rejected at the polls. But he added that he accepted the Tunapuna defeat and had no ill feeling about having had to give up the safe seat of St Joseph. MP for Oropouche, Dr Roodal Moonilal, and former attorney general Kamla Persad-Bissessar are also being named by some party officials as likely replacements for Panday.
Prez gets polls results
By Jada Loutoo and Robert Clarke
President Arthur NR Robinson was presented with the official results of Monday’s general election by the EBC, even as UNC Ortoire-Mayaro candidate Winston “Gypsy” Peters requested a recount of the ballots. Chief Elections Office Howard Cayenne, in a telephone interview yesterday morning, admitted the letter to the President was in the process of being written. He refused to comment further. “I really don’t like talking to the press about the Presidential matter,” he said. EBC chairman Oswald Wilson said the letter was expected to be sent to the President during the afternoon and would include information about Peters’ request for a recount. The EBC’s results showed that in all but three of 34 Trinidad seats contested in Monday’s election, the PNM either increased its margin of victory or narrowed its margin of defeat from the 2001 general election.
In each of the 18 seats retained by the PNM, the party’s margin of success was greater than last year. Only in Naparima, Nariva and Oropouche did the party lose by more votes this year than last. The PNM also engineered a turnaround in the popular vote, polling 308,807 votes to the UNC’s 283,656. The UNC won the popular vote in 2001. However, the combined margin of victory in the PNM’s two “new” seats (Ortoire/Mayaro and San Fernando West) totaled only 567 votes. Voter turnout rose to 69.5 per cent, up from 65 per cent in 2001. 608,830 people voted of a total electorate of 875,260. All 29 Independent and “new party” (CA, DPTT) candidates lost their deposits, surrendering a total of $145,000
The new or independent candidate who came closest to retaining his deposit was CA’s Rocky Garcia, who polled 8.7 per cent of the Diego Martin West turnout. A candidate forfeits their deposit if they poll less than one-eighth (12.5 per cent) of the voter turnout.
Highest polling candidates
Manohar Ramsaran (UNC Chaguanas) – 16,028
Camille Robinson-Regis (PNM Arouca South) — 15,573 Kamla Persad-Bissessar (UNC Siparia) — 15,037
Lowest polling candidate
Alan Watkins (DPTT Ortoire/Mayaro) – 47
Barataria/San Juan: UNC – 8,391
St Joseph: UNC – 12,490
Tunapuna: PNM – 10,214
Ortoire/Mayaro: PNM – 11,025 (recount pending)
San Fernando West: PNM – 9091
Snapshots of victory
By JUDY RAYMOND
Balisier House, Monday, 7 pm: A backdrop is still being hung on the platform at the west end of the car park where Patrick Manning will speak later. Outside in the road, corn soup and sweet drink vendors are setting up their pots and coolers. A few people are starting to straggle into the grounds. I’m here much too early, but the suspense in the newsroom was unbearable. This is the third year in succession I’ve been at Balisier House on election night. I catch myself thinking, “Next year I’ll go to Rienzi Complex.” Then I remember elections aren’t supposed to be annual events.
Reporters are gathering in the big white room upstairs. Inside and out, screens relay the two TV stations. Throughout the evening, the conflicting soundtracks and pictures reflect the confusion over what’s really happening. Another screen projects a computer spreadsheet showing the PNM’s own figures. They vary widely from those shown on TV6, and always in favour of the PNM.
On TV, UNC lawyer Anand Ramlogan, pontificating among a bunch of other men in suits, is trying to persuade the country that the UNC came from behind but peaked at the right time. He can’t see them losing, he says firmly. They should get at least 18 seats, if not 19. I wonder if his analytical method is any more scientific than mine: I feel the PNM is going to win because at three meetings in the past two weeks they gave me gooseflesh. 10.40 pm: In the slowly filling car park, a woman starts to scream and jump. Another woman joins her and the two of them carry on like that for several minutes.
The rest of the crowd wants to celebrate too, but what? “We take Mayaro,” someone hears. But it’s still doubtful. A TV station has just reported that the Democratic Party is packing up and going home. Citizens Alliance has conceded too
Twenty minutes later, we know that Tobago has gone to the PNM again. There’s wild cheering in front of the screens. On TV the counts are coming thick and fast, but they’re seesawing. Yetming is ahead in St Joseph, Gypsy in Ortoire-Mayaro.
But Eddie Hart is leading in Tunapuna. The crowd gets so noisy you can’t hear the TV announcers. An elderly woman in front of the big screen grips her bosom in both hands so it will jiggle less while she jumps up and down. 11.30pm: Chairs have just been put out on the platform, but none of the candidates have arrived as yet, only backroom boys: Lenny Saith, Keith Sobion, John Donaldson. Then cheers greet former National Security Minister Howard Chin Lee and Ambassador Plenipotentiary Jerry Narace. Chin Lee comes out on the gallery and people are so pleased to see a bigshot, they rush to hug him and shake his hand. “Come back again,” they tell him. Unaccustomed to this adoration, he giggles, helpless with pleasure.
On one of the big screens Basdeo Panday is speaking from Rienzi Complex, but the sound has been cut off. Is he conceding, or is this a victory speech? He looks grim. “Run the music,” calls a man on the gallery. “We done win.”
Hundreds of people are streaming into the grounds, scenting victory. Upstairs, former Senator Christine Kangaloo is dancing, alone but enthusiastically. Tuesday, 12.30 am: “I can’t go through this again,” he murmurs in my ear. “My heart can’t take it.” We’re close as lovers, but he’s a stranger, and I think he’s talking about the election. We’re crushed together against the wall of the corridor downstairs. Despite the squeeze, people are hustling up and down the corridor as if their lives depended on it.
There are some familiar faces: a grave Colm Imbert, a grinning Fitzgerald Hinds, the exuberant Donna Carter, dishing out hugs. A frail-looking Norma Lewis-Phillip insists on hobbling in and out. After several false alarms, shortly before 1 am a troop of perspiring policemen in sweaters muscle their way inside. At the centre are Mr and Mrs Manning.
The crush is so thick the photographers have to hold their cameras over their heads and click at random. The Mannings disappear into the political leader’s office. A few minutes later the policemen storm up and down the corridor again, looking for the easiest way to get the Mannings out of the building and onto the platform at the far end of the car park.
Upstairs, away from the hurly-burly, the elite supporters are peering out through the jalousies for a glimpse of their leader. His theme music starts up: “Come down, father, come down...”
From among the Diego Martin West posse, Fiona Mottley spots me. “You called us yuppies!” she says. “But that’s okay.”
There are three empty champagne bottles on a table in front of them. 2.15 am: Mr Manning finished speaking 45 minutes ago. I’m leaning against the car, waiting for the crowd and the traffic on Victoria Avenue to die down so I can go home.
Mr Manning gave a restrained and gracious victory speech, thanking those responsible and describing the UNC as worthy opponents. “I promised we will beat them in the east...,” he starts, and the crowd laughs with him as he goes through his ritual. But he doesn’t seem quite certain of victory, warning that there might be recounts. He tells the crowd to cool it: “When we leave here, let us do nothing that will bring the party and ourselves into disrepute.” And they are oddly cool.
This is the biggest crowd I’ve seen in my three years here. It took 15 minutes to get out of Balisier House to my car, just around the corner. It’s like a Carnival Monday night, not just because you can hear pan and party music, and not because of any jumping-up — there isn’t any, at least not out in the street. It’s like Carnival Monday because there are thousands of young people, mostly young black men, standing at the side of the road just looking on. There’s a pan side trundling down Victoria Avenue, a DJ blasting in the car park, but the youths aren’t taking them on. Election night 2000 brought defeat; in 2001, there was confusion. The last time was 11 years ago, and they were small children then. Maybe they just don’t remember how to celebrate a PNM victory.
De la Bastide in line-up for President
By Gail Alexander
Former Chief Justice Michael de la Bastide is said to be among those whom the PNM Government is considering for President, a PNM source said yesterday.But speaking at Wednesday’s swearing-in ceremony, Prime Minister Patrick Manning was tight-lipped about who the PNM might propose to succeed President Arthur NR Robinson. Robinson’s term ended March 18. But a successor could not be elected because Parliament was not sitting. Robinson agreed to stay on for another year but no later than March 18, 2003.On Wednesday, Manning said the PNM “did not propose to hound the President out of office”.De la Bastide, 65, retired as Chief Justice in July. He had been tipped to head the Caribbean Court of Justice to be located at Winsure Building, Port-of-Spain.That has not become operational yet, although the facilities are ready. The required legislation is still pending.Another name being heard in PNM circles to be Head of State is former Senate President Dr Linda Baboolal. She acted as President, the first woman to do so, when Robinson was overseas in July.Baboolal is also tipped to be elected as Senate President again, a source said.
Other PNM sources also said the party’s nominees for Speaker may include its initial choices of Professor Max Richards, former Speaker Hector McClean and former San Fernando West MP Barry Sinanan.They were all nominated unsuccessfully by the party during the failed Parliament sessions in April and August respectively. McClean and Sinanan are both attorneys and operated in the House of Representatives previously.Parliament will be convened on Thursday, Manning has said. First order of business will be the election of a Speaker. The PNM has a 20-16 majority which allows it to elect a Speaker without support from the Opposition.
Dr Lenny Saith
Mustapha Abdul Hamid
Pundit Maniedeo Persad
Dr Eastlyn Mc Kenzie
Dr Ramesh Deosaran
Dr David Quamina
Patrick Manning Prime Minister
Ken Valley- Junior Finance Minister and Trade/Industry Minister
Eric Williams - Energy Minister
Camille Robinson-Regis - Minister of Legal Affairs.
Senator Howard Chin Lee - National Security Minister.
Senator Conrad Enill - Junior Finance Minister.
Diane Seukeran - Junior Trade Minister.
Senator Glenda Morean - Attorney General.
Senator Hazel Manning - Minister of Education.
Colm Imbert - Health Minister
John Rahael - Ministry of Agriculture.
Senator Knowlson Gift - Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Larry Achong - Labour Minister.
Senator Lenny Saith - Public Administration/Information Minister.
Martin Joseph - Minister of Housing.
Barry Sinanan - Speaker of the House of Representatives
Senator Joan Yuille-Williams - Minister of Community Development and Gender Affairs
Penelope Beckles - Minister of Culture and Tourism.
Anthony Roberts - Parlimentary Secretary in the Ministry of National Security.
Senator Christine Kangaloo - Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister.
Senator Danny Montano - Minister of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education.
Edward Hart - Minister of State in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Eulalie James - Minister of State in the Ministry of Community Development and Gender Affairs.
Franklyn Khan - Minister of Works and Transport.
Jarrette Narine - Minister of Local Government.
Senator Mustapha Abdul-Hamid - Minister of Social Development.
Senator Rennie Dumas - Minister of Public Utilities and the Environment.
Roger Boynes - Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs.
Keith Rowley - Minister of Planning and Development.
Senator Satish Ramroop - Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Community Development and Gender Affairs and in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Stanford Callender, - Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister.