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Samad to stage sleep-in protest
The Party for Integrity and Morality in Politics (PIMP) Chaguanas West candidate, Ishmael Samad, has withdrawn from the Chaguanas West by-election. Around 4 pm on Tuesday, Samad turned in his letter of withdrawal to the Election and Boundaries Commission’s Chaguanas office.
Samad’s campaign had centred on what he described as the “moral dimension” of the by-election. He said he believed that a victory for Independent Liberal Party (ILP) candidate and former government minister Jack Warner would undermine the allegations of fraud and corruption laid against Warner over the past three years. Asked about PIMP’s membership in a telephone interview yesterday, Samad said: “Everybody knows the PIMP is a front. I’ve made a lot of friends and anybody who’s in favour of integrity is a member.”
His protest against Warner’s candidacy will continue, however, and Samad plans to sleep in front of the Chaguanas market every night from today until Sunday. He also plans to continue campaigning throughout Chaguanas to “enlighten” voters on the repercussions of a win for Warner. “I want the people of Felicity and Charlieville to know that this is serious and it would be an eternal disgrace if they should put their ‘x’ next to Jack Warner’s name,” Samad said.
“It would be a disgrace for generations. I have gotten the publicity that I sought, the platform. It was part of the plan that I was going to go up and make a lot of noise. I’m giving Jack 10,000 votes here and I’m giving Khadijah 10,001. All we need is one vote.” Samad’s campaign tactics included driving through Chaguanas blasting calypso music and accusing Warner of “PM tabanca.”
On Tuesday evening, Samad hosted a political meeting in Felicity, which he said was attended by a “small, appreciative crowd.” He added that the meeting was partially drowned out by UNC music trucks. At the meeting, he detailed allegations against Warner during his tenure at the international football organisations Concacaf and Fifa. Plans to sell corn soup at the meeting to raise money for the Haitian Earthquake Relief Fund fell through, however, so Samad plans to host another fund-raising event at a later date.
Samad, who took a $5,000 loan from his credit union to fund his candidacy, will not be refunded the deposit. He said the $5,000 loss would not bother him. “I got more than ten times that with the publicity and it was worth it...I’m not giving up the struggle,” he said. Samad, 69, used yesterday to rest, as he’s lost significant amounts of sleep since his campaign began on July 8.
However, he will be hitting the road again today, and armed with “cot, car and umbrella,” will begin his “sleep-out” at 8 pm.
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