|Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner |
acknowledges the crowd at his public meeting at Pierre Road,
Felicity, Chaguanas, last night. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
Jack Warner will spend his last hours as a Member of Parliament today, as from midnight he will also resign as MP for Chaguanas West.
However, he wants to contest the by-election, constitutionally due in 90 days, on a United National Congress ticket as he remains committed to the party and the People’s Partnership Government. Some of Warner’s constitutents were brought to tears when he disclosed this to a large crowd at his Straight Talk public meeting at Pierre Road Recreation Ground, Felicity, Chaguanas, last night.
“I wish to let you know that tomorrow, Friday, I would be advising the Speaker of the House of Representatives that effective midnight on Friday night, I am resigning as Member of Parliament for Chaguanas West,” he told the shocked gathering towards the end of his speech, the majority of which he spent defending his tenure in Concacaf and Fifa.
Warner is expected to respond to a private motion against him by the People’s National Movement (PNM) in Parliament today. But he said after he defends himself against the PNM, he will let House Speaker Wade Mark know this would be his last hurrah. Warner said when he spoke with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar at the special Cabinet meeting on Sunday, he told her if it became necessary for him to resign as minister and UNC chairman, he “would also wish to resign as the MP for Chaguanas West.”
He said he also advised the PM of his desire to return to the UNC fold. “I will want to contest the by-election as a UNC candidate for the Chaguanas West seat as I am UNC to the bone,” Warner said he told Persad-Bissessar during the meeting. Warner said he felt the proper thing to do last night was to offer his constituents the explanation and the facts for his resignations, saying it was “in keeping with the highest Parliamentary traditions.”
He said once Persad- Bissessar agrees to let him return on a UNC ticket for the forthcoming by-election, he is hopeful his constituents would also return him to office. “The Prime Minister, in our meeting last Sunday, even suggested that even if I do offer myself up for re-election I shall win and with your help and support, I, too, do feel so,” he said.
Section 69 (3) of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago states that where a vacancy arises in the House of Representatives within the first four years of the life of the Parliament, a by-election shall be held to fill such vacancy not later than 90 days from the date of the announcement of the vacancy by the Speaker. The election should thus be held by July 24, 2013.
As far as what happens from this weekend, Warner said: “So on Saturday, a new office sign goes up to replace the Chaguanas West MP sign and then the by-election campaign starts.” He said, however, that though he will no longer have the clout he previously had, he will continue to see constituents, in the hope he will be able to see them officially once again. “And who knows, with luck, love and your support, Jack Warner will be back,” he said.
And after his expected by-election victory in three months, he said “we shall set right all the wrongs that have been committed.” “We shall work together to strengthen our UNC and our Government and ensure that the people are truly always the first to be served—and that they are served with dignity.” Warner said that on Friday May 24, 2013, a new weekly newspaper will be launched. He also said he intended to launch a new.