PORT OF SPAIN –– After being a loyal crewmate aboard the United National Congress (UNC) ship for several years, former Mayaro MP and Community Development Minister Winston Gypsy Peters appears to have joined the SS PNM, being given a hero’s welcome at the party’s public meeting Saturday night in Rio Claro. As he jumped and waved PNM flags, Peters was mobbed by jubilant PNMites who embraced him as they welcomed him aboard. He was later greeted by PNM “captain” Dr Keith Rowley who affectionately touched Peters on his shoulders.
Peters’ appearance at the public meeting ended speculation on whether he would join up with the PNM or the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) led by his good friend and former UNC colleague Jack Warner. Peters last week Tuesday announced he had severed all ties with the UNC and also resigned from Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar’s Cabinet as Community Development Minister is in the wake of him being rejected by the UNC in favour of Rushton Paray, to contest the Mayaro seat in the September 7 general election.
A day later — last Wednesday — he released a chutney soca song that was scathing in its attack on Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar.
The song titled Kamla Neemakharam lashed the PM for being “too Neemakharam” which is a Hindi word for ungratefulness.
It has received many hits on social media websites where it was uploaded.
Peters, whose entrance to the PNM meeting on the roundabout, was heralded by tassa drums, was greeted by cheers from supporters. Addressing the crowd, a beaming Rowley said that “somehow Gypsy had lost his way” (in joining with the UNC), but he (Rowley) was glad that Gypsy had now “found it”. When he took to the podium, Rowley extended greetings to Peters, appearing pleased to see the former People’s Partnership minister in the front row of seats among senior members of the party.
“I would like to make a very special welcome to a guest of ours tonight, a man with whom we have had a lot of conversations before and they say, the shortest distance between two points is train line,” Rowley said as the crowd cheered.
“But some people take a circuitous route . . . maybe they see a greater vision, maybe they have a greater view of the landscape and they go sightseeing.
“My friend Gypsy went sightseeing.
“When we sat down to eat in the breakfast shed at my mother’s kitchen and I told him, Gypsy come and be in the PNM’, he had all kinds of other excuses.
“He gone and make all kinds of circuitous routes but tonight he has come back home.
“We welcome him in our gathering in Rio Claro. We had some long discussions before, but we don’t hold it against anybody who chooses another political party because basically, all political parties and politicians who come forward, we have to assume and we verily believe that they would like to develop our country.
“Sometimes the visions are different; sometimes the policies and programmes are different. It’s a different route but the objective might be the same.
“So when they go somewhere and come back to the PNM and say, ‘well you know what, I’ve been around and I’ve now decided to join up with your effort’, we say, ‘welcome back!’,” Rowley said.
Later when the meeting ended, Peters was seen almost running to see Rowley off as the PNM political leader was about to enter his vehicle.