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Samad: Jack has PM ‘tabanca’

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It was a regular Monday afternoon on the Chaguanas Main Road yesterday, with people bustling in-and-out of stores and taxi drivers vying for passengers but things were only regular because social activist Ishmael Samad was late. Around 1.30 pm yesterday, Samad, who is a candidate in the upcoming Chaguanas West by-election for the Party for Integrity and Morality in Politics (PIMP), came rolling down the Chaguanas Main Road in a silver Mitsubishi Lancer to which two megaphones were fastened. While the megaphones belted out the calypso Curry Tabanca sung by Mighty Trini, Samad, 69, repeated a voiceover: “Jack Warner has a PM tabanca. He wants to be prime minister.” There were shouts from market vendors as he passed: "He is a madman!" Samad is not shaken by the claims he is “mad.” 


During an interview in front of the Chaguanas market yesterday, he said: “I mad like hell. I am mad with this country. Not in the sense that they mean, like insane, but I am angry." Samad has been passing through the area daily from as early as 6 am until late afternoon since he became a candidate on July 8. His main focus yesterday was to hand out flyers for the political meeting he is hosting at 7.30 pm tonight at the Pierre Road Recreational Ground, Felicity. At the meeting, Samad will seek to enlighten voters on an aspect of the by-election that he believes is not spoken about. He said: “There’s a moral dimension to this campaign which nobody is talking about. A victory for Jack, you know what it means? Good God. “It’s an attack on the very moral foundation of our society. It’s a legitimisation of some of the most heinous acts of fraudulence and dishonesty.


He said his campaign has been sponsored by one or two business people in Chaguanas who liked he was “denouncing” fellow candidate Jack Warner. Samad has also received a $5,000 loan from his credit union.  Samad, a semi-retired naturalist, who has worked with the Pax Guest House, Mount St Benedict, took the loan for his political campaign in lieu of paying for his wife's cataract surgery. At Samad’s meeting, there will be corn soup on sale to support the Haitian Earthquake Relief Fund. Although Samad has never visited Haiti, he said he lives there "mentally.” 
He has three children and four grandchildren whom he wants to “grow up in a decent society.” His love for T&T and family were the main drivers behind the PIMP candidacy, he added. “I’m an activist. Trinidad is my space. I was compelled to act,” he said. 


Ishmael Samad is a social activist best known for his attempted citizen’s arrest of Calder Hart in 2009 when he used a sledgehammer to break open the gate of Hart’s son’s home.


Who supports Samad? 

The T&T Guardian asked a few constituents of Chaguanas West yesterday what they thought about Samad. Here are some of the answers. 

Monica Khan, vendor: He’s a waste of time. People don’t like him. Is like he campaigning for the UNC.

Krishendath Shankar, self-employed: He’s doing the right thing because he’s speaking the truth. Somebody has to talk about the things Jack (Warner) is doing.

Allan Herrera: I only know him to be all about the place. I never see him do anything for nobody. What could he really do for me? 


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