Gypsy Peters out as Cabinet Minster — just before election

Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Community Development Winston “Gypsy” Peters has resigned as a Cabinet Minister in the Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration and as a member of the party — 10 days before the Sept. 7 general election.

Gypsy, who was a United National Congress MP for Mayaro, in the East of Trinidad since 2000, (except when he lost the seat to the People’s National Movement in 2007) was rejected as a potential candidate by the prime minister to be re-elected for Mayaro in the general election.

Speaking at a news conference at the Hyatt Hotel in Port of Spain on Tuesday, Gypsy blasted the prime minister saying Kamla is a one-man show, and she is a dictatorial prime minister. He also called her “conniving” and an “ingrate”.

The former MP, who was moved from the Ministry of Multiculturalism during a Cabinet shake-up two years ago, admitted he was hurt by the UNC’s rejection, which he said, followed more than 15 years of throwing support behind Persad-Bissessar as a potential leader when no one else did.

He predicted the UNC will lose the Sept, 7 general election.

“As a human being I find Kamla Persad-Bissessar the most ungrateful ingrate, if there ever there was one who I have ever met. And as of today I have tendered my resignation from the United National Congress and tendered my resignation as a Government Minister from the Kamla-Persad Cabinet. I have divorced myself from the UNC,” an angry Peters told members of the media.

“As I stand before God and you, no other person in the UNC has supported Kamla Persad-Bissessar as much as I have,” he said.

“I have lost my friends” he added, “I have lost large sums of money supporting Kamla Persad-Bissessar to get her where she is today”.

Peter said he also gave up his United States citizenship to become involved in Trinidad and Tobago politics in 2000.

The former cabinet minister said that on nomination day, Persad-Bissessar asked him if he would get vexed if he was not given the nod as the candidate for Mayaro, “and I said I would be very angry, which I am right now!”.

Peters said he never felt the day would come when he could tell someone in good conscience not to vote for Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

The prime minister announced a candidate two weeks ago to replace Gypsy and the next day at a UNC rally she announced another one.

Gypsy shot into fame in 1986 with a political calypso “The Ship Sinking,” in which he described the state of the country under the People’s National Movement and in the ensuing election that the PNM lost to the National Alliance for Reconstruction

In a response, Persad-Bissessar expressed confidence that the People’s Partnership coalition will win the Mayaro seat previously held by Peters.

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