Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 1st 2015 Contents B14
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, May 1, 2015
Former prime minister Basdeo Panday
says there is nothing the People s Part-
nership could do at this point to win back
the Tunapuna seat.
This is one of the marginals which the
Guardian Media Limited s Louis Bertrand
poll predicted will swing back to the PNM
in this year s election.
The seat, represented by Foreign Affairs
Minister Winston Dookeran, has tradi-
tionally been marginal for more than two
decades. It is believed that this seat usually
determines who will win the election.
In an interview yesterday, Panday said
the only candidate who had the power to
win Tunapuna was Dookeran but because
he was most likely would not contest the
election, the UNC s fate was doomed. He
said the party s delays in selecting candi-
dates would cause it to lose the election.
"I certainly think it is bad strategy on
the part of the UNC to wait until the last
moment to declare candidates.
"Once candidates are declared there are
always some who are dissatisfied and are
likely to create trouble within the party.
Having that kind of trouble so close to the
elections is not a good idea," Panday said.
Asked what the People s Partnership
could do to win the seat, Panday respond-
ed: At this point I don t know they can
do anything to win. It may depend on the
candidate. If Dookeran is not selected, the
PNM will win that seat."
However, Dookeran said yesterday he
had not made any public declaration as
to whether he would be contesting the
Commenting on the poll, Dookeran said:
"I think polls are what polls are. They pic-
ture a situation at a point in time. It could
change, depending on a range of issues."
He said Tunapuna was traditionally mar-
ginal as it reflected the socio-political land-
scape of T&T.
"It is part of the political dynamics. It
is a confluent constituency that brings
together all parts of the country," Dookeran
ON THE MARGIN
Panday: PP will never
win back Tunapuna
'Without Dookeran UNC's fate doomed'
Panday also said that T&T would
face political upheaval and social
violence if Constitutional Reform (CR)
is not introduced.
"As long as the present political
system obtains there will be
frustration. If we want change we
have to amend the constitution and
have proportional representation
(PR). Elections, from what I have
seen, will continue along racial lines."
He lamented that the PP had the
power to bring about CR.
"Not until we change the
constitution and have PR will we get
away from tribal voting. Neither side
wants CR because CR will break the
racial voting," Panday said.
Saying he was fearful about the
direction that T&T was heading,
"I fear that if things continue as it
is, there will be political violence
"History is replete with examples
where people are frustrated and the
political system is preventing them
from getting change. That is when
they go outside of the law and
"Unless we have CR, this political
violence is quite likely to happen
when people are denied their
Panday said the society and the
political system have alienated young
people from the politics.
"They don't feel they belong to the
process. They feel excluded. Many of
the young children don't want to be
part of this racial thing and they have
"That is the problem. The only way
we get them back in is to give them
an interest in the system and do
away with racial parties by
representation," Panday added.
Panday also said the People's
Partnership Government had proved
his point that coalition governments
would never work.
"The nature of the T&T mitigates
against a coalition government
because the moment they get into
power there is a struggle for power.
Under this system there is no room
for smaller groups and this is the
reason why we need CR," he said.
Panday added that people were
becoming more intelligent and were
realising that the wanton spending of
$400 billion in five years would
negatively impact on T&T's future.
He said the PP Government had
continued the dependency syndrome
generating more unproductiveness.
Panday said instead of giving a
baby grant to mothers, it would have
been wiser to set up nurseries for
children and provide jobs for single
But Panday said the biggest downfall of the
People's Partnership Government was it did
not have a vision or plan.
"The leader of this party didn't have a plan.
You must have a vision and then translate that
vision to a plan and set up the institutions in
order to implement that plan.
"When implementing you must appoint the
most qualified people to fill those jobs. This
Government has appointed people whose
certificates were fraudulent. They tried to put
as many friends and family into jobs," Panday
He said racism had intensified.
"I think within the past three years racial
tension has intensified for many reasons.
"The government during the state of
emergency arrested several members of the
Muslim community without cause and they
alienated some members of the Muslim
"Kamla has allowed Sat to create a Hindu
image for the party and those kinds of
divisions is what has been allowed to take
place," he added.
He said the PNM's history also was built on
corruption and nepotism.
"The party also has internal problems. There
is a change in leadership and the current leader
is trying to clear the stables of loyalists of the
old regime," Panday said. He added that
traditional PNM supporters would continue to
vote along racial lines.
"The state of politics in T&T has deteriorated
to a low that I have never seen before. I think
what is responsible is the country lacks
"Our leaders in Parliament do not know really
what to say and what to do. They have no
"They attack one another so the Parliament
has degenerated not to a place where they
debate but where they attack one another on
their personal lives. They have reduced the
Parliament to a place of bacchanal," Panday
'POLITICS HAS DEGENERATED'
Flashback August 2013, former
prime minister Basdeo Panday,
centre, speaks with then COP
leader, Winston Dookeran, during
the ceremonial opening of
parliament. At left is Panday's wife
Oma. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
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