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Warner facing expulsion

PORT OF SPAIN — Former Member of Parliament for Chaguanas West Jack Warner would face expulsion from the United Nattional Congress if he contests the by-election as an independent candidate.

Austin “Jack” Warner.

Austin “Jack” Warner.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday said the party’s constitution does have certain sanctions and provisions that prevent a member from contesting a seat as an independent candidate.

“The constitution of the party provides for what will happen if a person should go up on any other ticket except that of the party. I think the constitution provides that such a person would be expelled,” Persad-Bissessar said.

The prime minister made the statement in response to questions from the media after a visit with Secondary Entrance Assessment pupils at Tranquility Government Primary School, Stanmore Avenue, Port of Spain.

The UnC constitution states, inter alia, that “if a member of the party shall, in opposition to any par≠ty candidate, or nominee or otherwise in defiance of or contrary to any party directive or declared policy, publicly announce his intention to participate in or contest, or be a candidate or nominee for election to a seat in Parliament, or any public forum or municipal corporation, accept nomination or appointment to any such public forum or municipal corporation, shall thereupon cease to be a member of the party”.

Persad-Bissessar also responded to Warner comment that the by-election should take place before the month of Ramadan, which ends on August 9.

“I did not trigger this process. This process was triggered by the resignation of a member of parlia≠ment, and given the constitution time frame, it has been triggered in the month of Ramadan.

“I cannot go outside the constitution to hold it after. I have to work with the hand that has been dealt to me, which is to say that I have to count to 90 days (from the date of the declaration of the vacancy), which takes us to August 10, and I am being advised that Eid may be 9th or 10th August.

“So I cannot change that process, which was triggered not by my doing. I will have to follow the constitution,” she said, adding that elections have taken place during the Muslim holy month before.

Despite the public fallout between Warner and local government, works and infrastructure Minister Dr. Suruj Rambachan, Perad-Bisses≠sar said their relationship was not as bad as reported in the media.

‘Solid as a rock’

“When there’s an election, people get more excited, but been there, done that as they would say. All will be well. The party remains, as I said on Mon≠day night, solid as a rock, will continue to work together and in any mass of humanity, any gathering of persons, you will have different views from time to time, but the democracy will prevail in the end,” she said.

Persad-Bissessar said she has not lost touch with the citizenry as suggested by Warner. While admitting her schedule is busy, Persad-Bissessar said she and the rest of the MPs try “as much as we can … to stay connected”. (Express)

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