bets are on
neckties outnumbered the red outfits in Parliament yesterday.
The traditionally known energy of the colour failed, however,
to perk up the earlier part of the session, although MPs had
been lively with football talk before proceedings started.
(National Security Minister Martin Josephs statement
recapping anti- crime measures may or may not have had something
to do with the lull that ensued after.)
At Thursdays post-Cabinet media briefing, Health Minister
John Rahael revealed he was taking bets that the Soca Warriors
would draw with England in that upcoming match.
MPs are probably more grateful than the rest of the population
that todays T&T/Sweden match is taking place on
When T&T played Bahrain last yearon a FridayParliament
had to take a break for MPs and Red House staff to watch the
conclusion of the match.
Today, though, Trade Minister Ken Valley is hosting a lime
at his Caribbean Shoppe in St James to watch the match, he
Among invitees is Works Minister Colm Imbertwhose large
shiny black SUV is flying a T&T flag. However Imbert also
has five other invitations to Movietown and several private
residences, he said.
Local Government Minister Rennie Dumas is cheering the Soca
Warriors on over his weekly Saturday soup at Sunset Inn in
as its known, is where we all pass through on a Saturday
and its been the scene of some memorable times including
in our political lives, Dumas added.
Pt Fortin MP Larry Achong is hoping a mid-morning meeting
in Port-of-Spain concludes in time for him to find a suitable
venue to watch the match.
UNCs executive boasted so many football fans that Wednesdays
executive meeting was shelved due to the presence in Germany
not only of deputy Jack Warner and former leader Basdeo Panday,
but also vice chairman Vassant Bharat and CEO Tim Gopeesingh.
Even former Sports Minister Manohar Ramsaran is in Germany
until month-end, his office confirmed.
However, remaining UNC members here were not betting on the
future of the new Democratic National Alliance whose NAR,
DPTT and former C4TAP/dna components have come together.
The mixture of fledgling and faded is being moulded by interim
chairman, MP Gerald Yetming, NARs chief organiser in
At Wednesdays presentation, executive member Colin Coker
of DNAs Tobago unit was confident that once youre
new, young and attractive the party would succeed. He
seemed oblivious to the fact that many of those present in
the Crowne Plaza room were representative of the older NAR
Among new faces, however, is DNAs treasurer, businessman
Afra Raymond, a director of Port-of-Spains Raymond and
Pierre real estate company. The group hopes Raymond and former
minister Mervyn Assam will be able to drum up financial support.
The line-up at the head table for Wednesdays press briefing,
though, was devoid of any typical UNC support. (Yetming didnt
count since he was often regarded as more NARite than UNC
even while in the Opposition party.)
By Yetmings own admission about continuing dialogue
with UNC leader Winston Dookeran, the group appears to be
banking on Dookeran for that input.
While DNA is resurrecting former NARites in building new support,
Dookeran seems to have accomplished some of that on his own
in attracting Aldwyn Lequay and John Humphrey (in the audience),
as well as Kama Maharaj (on his platform) to his meeting on
So far, however, Dookeran, who has been using unity as his
battle cry, recently took to sounding a note of warning (and
not to the PNM) which could very well ultimately cause a split
in the UNC.
will not allow the few people who are power hungry to deter
me from doing the job I have to do, Dookeran said Monday
Confidently declaring that they can never throw
him out of the UNC, Dookeran (and his detractors) knows the
consequences, good and bad respectively, if they
actually did that.
Consequently, he may feel secure to pursue his very obvious
mobilisation efforts with the UNC members.
The DNAs plan to launch in August may give Dookeran
about two more months to work if he intends to link with the
party. However, the patience of the UNC executive may run
out before that.
Dookeran has not yet responded to the executives call
for answers on his recent actions and meetings.
disciplinary proceedings may depend on how he responds,
an executive member said yesterday.
Former minister Humphrey, who supports Dookeran, said the
DNA has intellectual acumen but lacks personnel with mass
Winston is attracting the ONR constituency, he can also bring
the UNC together with it, he said yesterday.
Humphrey added that he was the one who had spoken to various
politiciansincluding Wendell Mottleyabout coming
together last year.
Mottley has been at the focus of accusations by UNC deputy
Jack Warner of a former PNM Minister being behind
a plot against the UNC.
Former reporter Roger Ramcharitar, who had been on Mottleys
public relations team in Mottleys now defunct Citizens
Alliance, is now working with Dookerans team, his St
Augustine office confirmed yesterday. Humphrey added:
Mr Panday was in jail last year, I felt we had an opportunity
to recapture the spirit of 1986. I contacted Lloyd Best who
endorsed the idea. He put me on to Kirk Meighoo who contacted
Bindra Maharaj who also put me on to Wendell.
contacted Lennox Sankersingh of the NAR and Ramesh Maharaj
and invited them all to join me to go see Mr Panday in prison
and ask him to come out and build unity .
At that stage Humphrey, who had designed the UNCs rising
sun logo, said he designed another logo which he thought could
serve as the symbol for a coming together of the partiesa
sun that had risen.
this happened before UNCs internal election, he
added. I went with Kamal Mohammed, Tim Gopeesingh, Nirad
Tewarie and others to a meeting at Bindras house. I
spoke to Jack (Warner) about it also, Humphrey added.
day after we met at Bindras house, Basdeo accepted bail
so the effort didnt go anywhere. But I still believe
the spirit of unity exists.
He added: Mr Panday and myself know you cannot enter
elections with leadership squabbles. It seems the people who
want to be Prime MinisterRamesh, Kamla, Basdeo if he
can return, even Jackdont want to support Winston.
while Kamlas ambitious, shes has less experience,
so Winston is the only chance now.