Rudi wanted to lead PNM

By George Alleyne
August 19, 2009 –

Basdeo PandayThe scarcely concealed leadership battle in the United National Congress (UNC) between the Party’s Political Leader, Basdeo Panday, and one of its Deputy Political Leaders, Jack Warner, as to which of them will command the UNC in the immediate days ahead is not uncommon to Caribbean politics.

Neither is it unusual in the United Kingdom, the home of the Westminster System on which Trinidad and Tobago and other English speaking Caribbean countries have patterned their Parliamentary systems. Nor for that matter the United States of America, Latin American and European countries. Indeed, the continuing insistence when this is perceived as necessary, by those who would direct the nation’s public affairs is democratic, normal and healthy. This has been increasingly evident in the Caribbean since the region made the first tentative steps to across the board involvement in Legislative and Parliamentary politics.

Part of the reason for this impatience by those who wait in the wings, even though this may not apply to the UNC, is that too many of our Caribbean leaders have sought to hold on to power for far too long and, perhaps unwittingly, may be insensitive to changed situations. In Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Williams, the nation’s first Prime Minister, remained at the helm of the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) from its launch on January 24, 1956 until his death on March 29, 1981. Jamaica’s Norman Manley, headed the People’s National Party from 1938 to February of 1962; Antigua’s VC Bird, former head of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP), from 1946 to the 1980s and Tubal Uriah Butler controlled the British Empire Workers and Citizens Home Rule Party for all of 41 years until he passed away in 1977.

Sometimes the leadership styles of some of the Caribbean politicians and their reluctance to listen to the voices of change have led, in the past, to some of their parties being ousted from office by Young Turks, who left to form yet other parties. Two prominent examples have been those of Grantley Adams (Barbados) and Vere Bird (Antigua) whose respective parties were displaced at the polls by political groups formed by disillusioned members — Errol Barrow’s Democratic Labour Party, which replaced the BLP in 1961 and George Walter’s Progressive Labour Movement winning from the ALP in February of 1971.

While Basdeo Panday’s UNC which grew out of the 1988 breakaway from the then ruling National Alliance for Reconstruction — Club 88 — is nowhere as old as the parties mentioned earlier, nonetheless, there have been clamourings for change at the top for several years, growing more strident following on three successive losses in the General Elections, the first of which saw the UNC being removed from power after a brief stint in Government. Jack Warner and those who support him appear to believe that should he become Political Leader, the UNC may unseat the incumbent PNM. And they may very well be right. The PNM itself, is another part of the Caribbean’s culture of leadership longevity.

Should Warner access the leadership position in the United National Congress, he would be the first person of African descent to head a political party in Trinidad and Tobago, whose membership base comprises persons, who are mainly of Indian or Asiatic descent. However, what appears not to be generally known is that Dr Rudranath Capildeo shortly after he succeeded the charismatic Bhadase Sagan Maraj as leader of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) had expressed an interest in joining the People’s National Movement. His terms were clear: Dr Williams would have to relinquish office and with this, he, Dr Capildeo would have to become Prime Minister.

Dr Winston Mahabir, former Minister of Health in the first PNM Administration, and to whom Dr Capildeo had, reportedly, communicated his wishes, tells the story in his book, In and Out of Politics, first published in 1978. Had everything worked out as Dr Capildeo desired, he would have been the first and only Political Leader of the PNM of Indian descent and the first Indian descent Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister.

Allow me to quote from Dr Mahabir’s In and Out of Politics: “After Bhadase handed him the leadership of the DLP, Rudranath’s ambitions seemed to grow exponentially. He would be Prime Minister at any cost. Nothing less would do. This is not hearsay, but it is precisely what he told my wife and me at our home while I was still a Minister in the PNM Government. He would join the PNM, on one condition — Williams must step down….He became obsessed with the idea of power.”

I will return to the subject of leadership change and reluctance to it in this column at a later date.,105767.html

Original Trinidad and Tobago News Blog URL:

6 thoughts on “Rudi wanted to lead PNM”

  1. We need Jack’s money
    Displaced workers of the Chaguanas Borough Corporation remain hopeful they will at least get two months pay to help pay their bills and care for their families, as Government ponders whether to give the green light for them to receive a $309,000 donation from Chaguanas West MP, Jack Warner.

    Warner’s legal team meets today
    CHAGUANAS WEST MP Jack Warner will meet with his legal team today to plan his legal actions against Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday and the national executive of the United National Congress (UNC).

    Panday’s lawyer now in Jack’s corner
    British Queen’s Counsel, Alan Newman, who represented Basdeo Panday at his trial on three charges of failing to declare his London bank account to the Integrity Commission in 2006, is now in the corner of Chaguanas West MP, Jack Warner, preparing to file a slander writ against Panday.

    Jack: It pains me to take action
    Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner has said it pains him to take Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday to court, but he (Panday) has left him no choice.

  2. George Alleyne should be designated a “living national monument”, for the light he can shine on our political ins and outs. If he teamed up with Irvin Rauceou’s photography, they could produce a fantstic book. Hopefully, since it’s my idea, they would let me write a chapter, but if they didn’t, it could be a great book anyway.

  3. Dr Rudranath Capildeo was an opportunist who was pushed by the Indian party mainly because he had a PhD, a rare qualification in those days. It did not matter that he was a scientist interested only in being the Brown hope of T&T.His resume indicated that he was least qualified to be a leader or politican. Unlike Williams who was genuinely interested in the future of the Caribbean, Dr Capildeo was only interested in power and fulfilling the dream of the Indo population.Hopefully, the day would come when the people of T&T would realize that it does not really matter whether the PM is Afro or Indo.

  4. I’m free to represent Jack
    BRITISH Queen’s Counsel (QC) Allan Newman yesterday said he was not breaching any professional obligations by legally representing Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner against his former client, Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday.

    Moves to get Jack to change his mind
    There are serious overtures being made to Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner by high-ranking people in the United National Congress (UNC), including two very senior parliamentarians and a top executive member, who have all appealed to him to desist from suing Panday.

    …Bas: Money can’t buy class

  5. Please T-Man do not attempt to drive the Lexus from the provincial bar today as you must be either drunk, drinking, or kidding . You know those Mounties don‘t play, especially in this recession. It is alleged by the more honest amongst us that they could make their racially sensitive Yankee counterparts look like boys scouts when it comes to profiling , and draconian police modus operandi. Since we won’t hear a twitter from grateful immigrant influxes, no need to tell ‘ass soul’ , eh?
    Race will always matter in Sweet T&T aka Rainbow Country/ baby America T-Man and you know it. You’ll quicker have two neglected ,drunken ,Native Americans from the Canadian Saskatchewan Prairies becoming PM and Governor General respectively, in your beloved Canada , before race looses it’s significance in our beautiful country. Just keep it real will you, and stop the ‘pipe dreams.’
    Few pearls of wisdom for yours and others edification:- ‘if you’ve always done what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get , what you’ve always got.’
    How interesting that some Trini folks would look across the global landscape , or bask in the glory of the more advanced metropolis , yet foolishly conclude that authentic nation building occurs in the same manner in which they play our famous Whe Whe- by chance, and stupid dreams. No T- Man , get ready to start the Revolution in thinking – and it begins with me and you. Eric Williams , Panday , and Robbie are the last three ‘foreign educated political saviors’ that would see power in your country , and none given the chance – including those that came after and between – really advanced the causes of the suffering masses they claimed to represent.

  6. Warner backs down on lawsuit against Panday
    In a news release yesterday, Warner stated that pleas from Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh, Fyzabad MP Chandresh Sharma and UNC general secretary Fazal Karim, together with many more calls, were instrumental in him changing his mind not to take Panday to court.

    Okay, I won’t sue Bas
    Warner gives in to party members’ pleas

    Panday: They did a very stupid thing
    This is how an upset sounding Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday has described the plea by three party members to Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner to drop a lawsuit against him (Panday).

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