Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 27th 2015 Contents A5
September 27, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
CHARLES KONG SOO
Dr Dhanayshar Mahabir says
independent senators do not con-
form to a party line and vote
according to their conscience.
He was speaking to journalists
after the conclusion of the inde-
pendent senators' retreat at the
Kapok Hotel, St Clair, yesterday.
Mahabir responded to the ques-
tion as to whether it was possible
to be entirely independent in a par-
liamentary system where there
were two dominant parties, and
what were the challenges of being
an independent senator.
Mahabir said, "Because it's nine,
we're not one whole bench, we're
nine independent republics under
a loose federation.
"And as independent republics
we do not conform to a party line,
we search our conscience.
"So we always give what is
known as a conscience vote on
what is in my opinion in the public
"Now you're in the Senate, your
responsibility as an independent
senator is not to a political party,
your responsibility is to the entire
41 constituencies in T&T."
He said each independent sen-
ator represented what he or she
thought was in the best interests
of all the population in T&T.
Mahabir said the independent
senator and the independent bench
in T&T were unique in the Com-
He said the framers of the
Republican constitution in their
wisdom held the view that from
amongst individuals in the society
who had distinguished themselves
in certain fields of endeavour, the
President would draw individuals
so that a variety of perspectives
on bills brought before the House
would be had, which should aid in
efficient law making in the public
Also at the table were the other
independent senators, Jennifer Raf-
foul, Melissa Ramkissoon, Taurel
Shrikissoon, Sophia Chote SC, Paul
Richards, Stephen Creese and
Mahabir: We are guided by conscience
Former prime minister and
Leader of the Opposition Kamla
Persad-Bissessar is facing serious
heat inside the party for the five
losses at successive elections.
While the party has closed ranks
after the latest defeat at the general
election, the Sunday Guardian has
been informed that UNC members
are "disheartened" with Persad-
Bissessar and are looking to vote
against her in the long overdue inter-
The Sunday Guardian has been
reliably informed that Persad-
Bissessar would be hard pressed to
pull off an internal win given the
sentiment in the party at this time.
One insider said even the latest Per-
sad-Bissessar led challenge of the
election results is an attempt to
"distract" from the losses at the
polls. The Sunday Guardian under-
stands that moves to undermine
Persad-Bissessar began in the last
year when party insiders realised
the UNC was losing favour with the
"Look at the people who have
been in high ministerial offices and
let go, they were her main supporters
inside the party. Who does she have
inside here now?"
The insider named former attor-
ney general Anand Ramlogan, for-
mer minister of the People Dr Glenn
Ramadharsingh and former local
government minister Chandresh
Sharma among those who "had her
back" inside the party.
Among those favoured to take
over the reins of leadership are Vas-
ant Bharath, Dr Roodal Moonilal
and Mickela Panday whose father,
former prime minister Basdeo Pan-
day, founded the party.
Moonilal: We are not ready for
internal until next year
While the Sunday Guardian was
met with silence from several quar-
ters, Moonilal said the UNC would
not be ready for internal elections
until next year.
"Right now we are really focused
on the budget and then there is
Christmas which brings the usual
lull, so we would not be looking at
the internal elections until after that
which takes us into next year," he
said. Moonilal confirmed that there
was some negative sentiment direct-
ed to Persad-Bissessar after the suc-
cessive losses but denied that he
was preparing himself to take over
"I mean, if I am called upon to
vie for leader and that depends on
who is doing the calling too, then
I would consider it," he said.
He said right now the party was
in "consolidation" mode.
"The internal election would
receive our attention in due time,"
Panday: Kamla cannot win, UNC
was stolen and ruined
But while Moonilal did not say
how he felt about Persad-Bissessar
following the losses, former prime
minister Basdeo Panday had no such
"I think it's obvious she cannot
win an election. I think the people
who are the UNC need to take back
their party because it was stolen in
2010 and ruined," Panday said.
Panday said the image of the UNC
was damaged and now the party
was seen as a "bunch of corrupt,
He said as it stood now, no one
knew who were the real members
of the party.
Despite his very negative view of
the party he founded, Panday said
he was not coaching his daughter
to take over the helm.
"I have the fortune or misfortune
of having children who are inde-
pendent minded and cannot be
coached," he said. He said that his
daughter would have his blessing if
she chose to take over the UNC.
Several attempts to reach Mickela
Panday were unsuccessful.
Independent senators David Small, Taurel
Shrikissoon, partially hidden, Jennifer Raffoul,
Paul Richards, Dr Dhanayshar Mahabir addressing
members of the media, Sophia Karen Chote, SC,
Melissa Ramkissoon and Stephen Creese at the
closing of the Independent Senators' Retreat at
Kapok Hotel, St Clair, yesterday.
PHOTO: CHARLES KONG SOO
Tide turning against Kamla in UNC
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