Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 26th 2015 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Monday, October 26, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 23RD OCTOBER, 2015
United National Congress (UNC)
MPs, past and present, are now
stepping out and openly calling for
the party s political leader, Kamla
Persad-Bissessar to step down.
Leading the call is San
Juan/Barataria MP Dr Fuad Khan,
one of several UNC MPs absent at
the launch of Persad-Bissessar s party
leadership election campaign on Sat-
urday in Penal.
"I am not supporting her for
leader. She could be chairman," Khan,
a former health minister, bluntly told
the Guardian yesterday from hurri-
cane-ravaged Mexico where he is
attending a medical conference.
Khan said, for the first time, he
was going to be blunt and tell the
Throwing out a call for the return
of UNC founders, Basdeo Panday
and Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, and
Jack Warner, he said, "You have to
build a party that embraces everyone.
"Panday, Warner, Ramesh, every-
body who was there from the start
was kicked out.
"If you are carrying a magnet for
unity, why is it that everybody who
formed the party was never
embraced? What is the common
factor that disallowed them from
coming together with the UNC."
At the launch of her campaign to
be re-elected UNC leader in the
December 5 internal party elections,
Persad-Bissessar, at Shiva Boys Col-
lege, asked supporters to let her
once again be the "magnet of unity"
in the UNC.
Khan, asked if UNC supporters
would embrace Warner, who pub-
licly took credit for Persad-Bissessar
administration s defeat in the Sep-
tember 7 general election, replied,
"He did not bring down the last
administration. He brought down
Asked if, along with Panday, he
will be embracing his daughter,
Mickela Panday, who has the back-
ing of some UNC supporters, Khan
said, "Yes. What s wrong with her?"
Told his name was also being
bandied about among UNC sup-
porters as a potential leader of the
party, he said, "People have been
calling me about it but I haven t
given it much thought."
Former minister of Tertiary Edu-
cation, Science and Technology,
Fazal Karim, said Persad-Bissessar
did not invite him to her campaign
launch and gave a strong hint he
was not on her side.
"I was not invited. And some
other colleagues. She didn t invite
many people," the Chaguanas East
So, is he supporting her for party
leader? "I am looking to see what
is happening. I haven t given a com-
mitment anywhere yet or commit-
ted to contesting any party position
Giving a clearer hint, Karim
added, "But we have to have an
On the apparent splintering of
the UNC into different factions, he
said, "I know about divided we fall
and united we win."
Several other senior UNC MPs
were also absent from Persad-
Bissessar s launch Saturday, includ-
ing Dr Roodal Moonilal, Dr Tim
Gopeesingh, Ramona Ramdial and
Persad-Bissessar said she wanted
to make it clear she did not invite
them. Efforts to reach them yes-
terday were unsuccessful.
Moonilal and Vasant Bharath said
they had been approached by sup-
porters to contest the leadership
Both confirmed this to the Sun-
day Guardian but said they had been
thinking about it.
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-
Bissessar, in response to dissenting MPs,
said yesterday, "The party is democratic.
It s the membership who will decide."
Persad-Bissessar believes her chances
at retaining the post of UNC leader are
She said it was not a matter of her
"blanking" UNC MPs who were not
invited to her campaign launch on Sat-
"I did not do any mass invitations. It
was not a mass mobilisation." As for how
she felt about reports that Moonilal and
Bharath were to be her contenders for
the leadership post, she said, "They have
not so indicated to me. I will not take
what I have read as the gospel truth."
Persad-Bissessar said she had spoken
to both MPs and they did indicate they
had not made up their minds about sup-
She said if the membership does not
choose her she "will have to accept their
A number of Opposition MPs, includ-
ing Dr Suruj Rambachan, Dr Lackram
Bodoe, Dr David Lee, Rodney Charles
and Barry Padarath were present at the
Opposition Leader s campaign launch.
Rambachan, on his Facebook post on
Friday, confirmed his support for Per-
"Whenever a party in government loses
a general election there ensues a hue and
a cry for the leader to resign.
"Following the defeat of the UNC there
have been calls from various quarters for
Kamla Persad-Bissessar to resign.
"Equally, it must not be forgotten that
340,000 placed their fate in her and in
the Partnership, by which support they
have indicated a high measure of satis-
faction with the performance of the Part-
nership and her leadership."
Several former ministers and current
regional corporation chairmen and coun-
cillors were also present at the event.
She urged supporters not to attack oppo-
nents in the party s internal elections, say-
ing, "We are still one UNC family."
Fuad: Kamla for chairman
Opposition Leader: Its a democratic process
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is greeted on
her arrival to the launch of her election campaign for
leadership of the UNC, at Shiva Boys College, Penal, on
Saturday. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
Panday, who founded the party, said he did
not know what Khan was talking about since
he and his daughter never left the UNC.
"We never left. We are life members of the
As for running for leader of the UNC, he
said, "You can only lead if that is the wish of
the membership and that is only known
through an election."
So will he contest? "You do not contest an
election you are sure is going to be rigged.
The same people contesting the election are
the same people
Panday echoed the
expressed by Mickela
in her Sunday
Ramesh Maharaj, told
about Khan's call for
bringing back the old
guard, replied, "No
way. The UNC leaders
themselves and betrayed their membership.
"I think the UNC will never recover until the
next 15 to 20 years."
Maharaj said the UNC needs a new set of
leaders and he does not intend to associate
with the party until it gets them.
Sacked justice minister in the former Kamla
Persad-Bissessar administration, Herbert
Volney, has added his voice to those calling
for her to step down as UNC leader.
Volney indicated he had supported her in
the September 7 general election but felt it
was time to let her go.
"Given her leadership of the UNC-led
coalition of parties (People's Partnership) into
five successive (election) losses, and a likely
additional two in local government by-
elections in December, Kamla has lost her
appeal outside the heartland and is unlikely to
return to power after her summary rejection
in the critical five marginal constituencies.
"She has to either step down now and
make way for an orderly transition or
condemn her party to a long term in
"She is a spent political force. It is sad for
many of us who gave her two chances, in
2010 and 2015," he stated in a Facebook post
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