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Analyst: Warner has credibility problem

Friday, January 25, 2013

UNC chairman Jack Warner’s accusation that Tobagonians voted on the basis of “tribal instincts” were misguided and an uninstructed analysis of Monday’s Tobago elections, political scientist Dr Winford James said yesterday. Warner, in a statement on Wednesday, said: “The results of the THA election reflect how palpable the notion of fear among the African population can be.”


James described Warner as a “political chameleon” who was always changing his position. He added: “Mr Warner has a credibility problem. I don’t know how many people take him seriously. “People have moved across boundaries, social and cultural lines and educational divides.


Saying Warner’s statements were mischievous, James said Warner failed to realise Tobagonians rejected the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) because of the poor governance of the People Partnership Government, including the early declaration of Section 34 and the failure of the state of emergency. “TOP got seriously compromised because of its association with the PP Government,” he said.


James said Warner, who was in Tobago during the election campaign, also was criticised by Tobagonians for the way he spoke about people, such as when he urged hunger striker Dr Wayne Kublalsingh to “hurry up and die.” James said Warner was also part of a Government which could also be accused of tribalism, especially when one considered the issue of ethnic stocking.


Attorney Martin George, a Tobagonian, yesterday said Tobagonians should not be “trivialised, insulted or their intelligence demeaned” by the suggestion “in a bald, superficial manner” that the election results were based on race as the main or only motivating factor. George said while in any society there always would be some who would be motivated solely by the race factor, the effect of those who voted purely on the basis of ethnicity would have been minimal to negligible in the Tobago election.


He added: “It is shallow, simplistic and downright insulting to the commonsense of Tobagonians to attempt to suggest they could not and did not see through the asinine, crass, inane, puerile and derogatory statement of one idiot on the political platform as being just that—an asinine statement by someone who is clearly no longer fit to hold the office of deputy chief secretary.”


He was referring to the remarks of PNM candidate Hilton Sandy about a “Calcutta ship” that would sail for Tobago if the TOP had won.



PNM responds

In a statement yesterday, the Tobago Council of the People’s National Movement condemned the statements made by Warner and  Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, who, it said “continue to insult the people of Tobago by alleging that their support for the PNM during the recently concluded THA election was based on race.”


The PNM said statements by Warner and Ramlogan were not only revolting but also disrespected the Tobago electorate who voted for the candidates of their choice in a free and fair election. It added: “The PNM wishes to remind Mr Warner that the same people he accuses of wishing to stay with their ‘political abusers’ voted overwhelmingly for the People’s Partnership in the 2010 general election and to abuse them now that they have voted differently is unfortunate and disconcerting.”


The statement said for such statements to come from the Attorney General, who ought to be the guardian of citizens’ rights, was unbecoming of the office-holder.


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