Jack Warner The Man

Tomorrow may be a defining day in the political future of the colourful and
controversial Austin “Jack” Warner. If he is victorious in the epic showdown
in the heartland of Chaguanas West it will signal not only a new dawn for
politics in T&T, but also a revival for the man who is labelled by the
people as “Uncle Jack” because of his many contributions to the
constituency.

For 70-year-old Warner, interim political leader of the newly-formed
Independent Liberal Party (ILP), the sun could shine brightly according to
several people interviewed last Tuesday and Wednesday. One constituent said,
“He is a man for the people and always with the people.” The former Fifa
vice-president, government minister and chairman of the United National
Congress (UNC) served as MP since 2007 but resigned in April this year.

His youthful opponents in the fight for representation of the people are
Khadijah Ameen, acting UNC chairman, and Avinash Singh of the People’s
National Movement (PNM). But the people who spoke with the Sunday Guardian
said Ameen’s only asset was that she represented the traditionalist UNC
voter and was not known for delivery of services to people. As for Singh,
they believed he was unlikely to amass sufficient votes that would impact
the election.

The preferred choice of candidate was Warner. Constituents argued that
despite the allegations of corruptions surrounding Fifa and Concacaf, he was
“the man.” The Sunday Guardian traversed areas such as Pierre Road,
Felicity, Munroe Road, Warner Village, Bejucal, Warren and Frederick
Settlement. Other areas like Charlieville, La Paille and Orchard Gardens
also form Chaguanas West. While many people spoke freely and willing, they
refused to give their names or be photographed.

Warner the performer
In almost every nook and cranny people uttered the same sentiment. “Warner
is the man.” “Warner is a performer.” “Warner do for we.” “The man perform.”
It was mid-morning on Tuesday. Caroni Savannah Road and environs were
bustling. A group of people was gesturing on the sidewalk as they walked
with their ILP jerseys in hand. Two aged men standing by the newly-opened
gas station in Charlieville were engaged in a conversation. They gave their
names as Hemdath and Praim.

Asked how they felt about the by-election, Hemdath wasted no time in
replying. “They cyah put nobody else here. People only want to talk but they
eh know what kind ah work Warner do. “We get road and drain. He take money
and hold all sort of celebrations in the year. “Warner coming back right
here in Chaguanas West.” Praim agreed. He said Warner was determined to help
people, and he was content with that. “Nobody could say Warner turn he back
on them here.”

A young man in Felicity said he would never support the UNC because of the
way it treated Warner. “Warner delivers on his promises so why we going and
vote for Khadijah? “She is a failure and a non-performer who trying to fight
a man who there and who perform. He will not stop performing.” In Chaguanas,
a woman said the UNC would fall apart because of tomorrow’s results. “I am a
woman, but I will not support her. I don’t even know anything about her.”

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