UNC chairman Jack Warner, who opened and closed his address with the playing of veteran calypsonian Slinger “Mighty Sparrow” Fransico’s 1971 classic “Good Citizen” delighting the large crowd, said it was time for the people to take back the country.
“Today we have put our differences aside and stand united in our common desire to reclaim this country and set it back on the path to prosperity; to restore justice and bring hope to the down-trodden and the exploited, and to bring peace and comfort once again to our land,” Warner said.
“Over the past week, as the web of State corruption continued unravelling, I reflected on the words of the Mighty Sparrow in his very insightful calypso entitled ‘Good Citizen’.
“That song, which was written in 1971, explored the corrupt dealings of the PNM of that day. But my friends, if you listen to that song, you would swear that Sparrow was singing about the PNM of 2010,” he added.
“Sparrow sang about how the PNM would rape the Treasury and squander the public purse, favour their friends and family, suffer the people, oppress the poor, protect their corrupt friends from the law, transgress the law with impunity, lie about their misdeeds, demonise their detractors, and exalt their crooked friends as good citizens,” he continued.
Earlier, in a moving address by NJAC political leader, Makandal Daaga, caused the crowd to erupt into spontaneous applause as he recounted the 1970 Black Power movement as Indians and Africans came together to change the political landscape.
He said 40 years later, there was need for unity within the population if the country was to experience change and development.
And in giving his ten steps to a better Trinidad and Tobago, he once again caused the crowd to cheer as he advised them to lift up the women of the country.
NAR political leader Carson Charles also welcomed the move to unification of various political parties though noted that the desire should be “real change and not exchange”. YesTT president Stephen Cadiz said the time had come for real unity as the nation’s future depended on “the decision that its leaders make today”.
“The time has come for all of us to come together and live the dream. We must be prepared to accept change because the future of us all depends on the decision that we must now make,” he added.
Meanwhile, Warner took the opportunity to respond to a statement by Prime Minister Patrick Manning, who alleged that the UNC had two leaders, saying “the UNC has only one leader”, as he looked in the direction of political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who was also seated on the podium.
“Don’t listen to them. It is an effort to make kutchoor (confusion). It was no accident that when the vote for the motion of no-confidence came up, two persons sat down,” he said.