PORT OF SPAIN — Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said she will call the election date for the by-election in Chaguanas West after the seat is officially declared vacant by House Speaker Wade Mark on Friday.
Last night, she invited persons wishing to contest the seat to submit their nominations.
Persad-Bissessar spoke at the Monday Night Forum of the United National Congress at the Gasparillo Composite School.
Persad-Bissessar did not respond to any of the statements that Jack Warner made at a public meeting on Sunday, instead, she assured supporters that the party remained strong. Rules as well as due process will be followed, she said.
Warner, since tendering his resignation as Chaguanas West MP on April 26 has started an intense re-election campaign — without waiting for the party to approve him as the UNC candidate to contest the seat.
Persad-Bissessar said she wanted to set the record straight and that every member of the party has the right to seek the nomination for the by-election in the constituency.
The UNC, she said, was a disciplined party that follows the rules.
“Our philosophy is that if we cannot do it right in our own party, then we cannot convince the electorate that we are fit to govern. So our party will do what is right,” she said.
In accordance with the rules, Persad-Bissessar said the party’s screening committee will determine who the candidate for Chaguanas West will be.
“This is your party and we work for you. And every member, including the political leader, must follow the rules. No one member is bigger or more important than the party,” she said.
Warner, in his public meetings so far has professed his unwavering support and love for the prime minister but warned against a group of ministers whom he claimed was giving her bad advice.
Persad-Bissessar, in turn, last night said that every member of the UNC was loved.
However, she added: “We love every single member and every single citizen of our great country but, we love our country more than any single individual.”
The Chaguanas West by-election she said was not an issue last night because the speaker is yet to declare the seat vacant although the MP had resigned on April 26.
“Let us not get ahead of ourselves. When the speaker declares the seat vacant our national executive will meet and work out the details and I’ll announce a date for that election,” she said.
“Today our party is stronger than ever, our partnership remains strong and united. So let the PNM start their campaign. Even if they put up Rowley as the candidate, he would lose his deposit,” she said as she urged the people of Chaguanas West to not be troubled. (Express)