|Jack Warner acknowledges the large crowd in Felicity|
In a speech to a large audience at Pierre Road recreation ground in Felicity, Warner said he would contest the July 29 byelection as a member of the new party.
And he made it clear that he won't associate with the opposition People's National Movement (PNM).
"Let me make this abundantly clear on the outset to the PNM and to Dr. Rowley that I have absolutely no intention of ever aligning myself with the PNM and/or Dr Rowley. Let me make that pellucidly clear!" the former MP and former chairman of the UNC declared.
He also maintained that he won't be "baited into bringing the Prime Minister into disrepute". He noted that his intention neither to bring down the UNC or the People’s Partnership government.
He said he has written to the Prime Minister stating that he would seek membership in the People's Partnership. He stated that the request is contained in a letter sent that letter to the PM at 8:00 pm on Friday with the message that stated: "following the election of July 29, 2013, I do hereby formally apply, on behalf of the Independent Liberal Party, to become a full-fledged partner in the People’s Coalition Government."
Warner traced his relationship with the UNC going back to 1997 when Basdeo Panday was prime minister and stated that he was always loyal to the party.
And he repeated a point that he has made repeatedly. "Had it not been for the Movement for Change, your Party would have never tasted Government. Kamla Persad Bissessar would have still been the Member of Parliament for Siparia under the leadership of Basdeo Panday and the UNC would still have been in opposition," he said.
"Tonight every constituent of Chaguanas West can boast that their representative, Jack Warner, was part of that great internal movement that placed your Party in Government and positioned your political leader as Prime Minister," Warner added.
Warner also took issue with statements made on Monday by Persad-Bissessar when she explained why the UNC rejected him as the candidate for Chaguanas West. He was the party never seriously considered him to be the candidate and described as "lies" some of the issues raised by Persad-Bissesssar. He also said much of what the party is saying on its platforms are contradictory.
He also played DVDs with clips of government ministers and the PM supporting him. He stated that he had a grand vision of growth for Chaguanas that included a vision to reduce poverty throughout the constituency and offer a better quality of life for all. He said his vision has not changed.
Warner, who has always said he is "UNC to the bone", explained his rationale for forming a new party. He said he wanted to run as an independent and went to the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) but was limited to choosing a symbol from among 15. None of them was appropriate, he said, so the EBC advised him that he could register a unique symbol for a new party.
"And so, my brothers and sisters of Chaguanas West, a new political party, the Independent Liberal Party was born - a Party which will be espousing a brand of liberal democracy hitherto not practised in this country before," he said.
The symbol for the party is the sugarcane next to an oil rig enshrined by two circles. He said the sugarcane represents "our coming together from Africa and India and conjuring up images of the struggle from slavery to indentureship from which we have been emancipated and remains a solid reminder that never again will we be enslaved physically, mentally or politically."
The oil rig, he added, is symbolic of the wealth of the nation built on the production of oil and gas. "With oil and sugar as our symbol of excellence our brand will echo our message Together Forever," he said.
Warner also explained his choice of green, which he said embodies ideas associated with fertility, life and growth. "It symbolizes a people who are well balanced, in harmony and are of a sound mind; it represents good judgment and morality. Green is the colour of beginnings. I selected it because of its powerful, positive energies and its symbolic youthfulness."
The former MP said for the month of July there would be no fee for persons joining the new party; the cost of membership after that would be $1, which is the salary he took for the years since 2007 when he first became the Chaguanas West MP.
Nomination Day is Monday. And it looks like there would could be as many as five candidates in the race although the contest would mainly be between Warner and the UNC candidate Khadijah Ameen.