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Warner out?

former mp faces expulsion from UNC if he contests by-election

PORT OF SPAIN — Under the United National Congress constitution, former Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner stands to “automatically expel” himself from the party if he contests the July 29 Chaguanas West by-election as an independent candidate, UNC election officer Ramona Ramdial confirmed yesterday.

“The same situation, as what happened to (former Congress of the People member) Manohar Ramsaran, will occur as the UNC’s constitution allows only one candidate for the party and if someone goes up independently, they are automatically expelled from the party,” she said. Ramsaran was automatically expelled from the COP after he submitted a nomination to contest the same seat for the UNC.

Ramdial was asked about the UNC constitution following Warner’s comments that he will make a decision with regards to his future and will announce such at a meeting on Friday. Warner resigned as MP, Cabinet Minister and UNC chairman in April, following a damning Concacaf report on his tenure as president of the regional governing body for football.

At a rally last Friday, UNC leader and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced acting UNC chair Kadijah Ameen as the party’s candidate for the by-election. Telling supporters she had not caused the by-election, the PM added she was sorry it had to come at a time when the local government polls are also due this year. She emphasised the need for party unity on the by-election and warned against division, saying Chaguanas West must remain in Government.

COP’s leader Prakash Ramadhar, also warning members not to be complacent and to return the PP heartland seat to government, said the by-election could have implications for the local government and general election performance. UNC general secretary Dave Tancoo recently said while the UNC could have one candidate who uses the party logo and colours, there could be independents in any election, but those independents are not allowed to use the UNC’s logo or colours.

He then referred to the UNC’s constitution, which states a party member would cease to be a member if he/she contests a parliamentary or municipal seat while the UNC puts up a candidate in the same seat. Sources close to Warner yesterday said he had told the UNC’s screening committee that depending on the outcome of that process, he would consult with constituents and “keep his options open”. They have interpreted this as a sign he would contest the election independently. (Guardian)

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