Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 2nd 2015 Contents Caroni East MP DrTim Gopeesingh, left, makes a point to his education officer Oatdeo Ramosarsingh during the launch of his campaign
for chairman of the UNC yesterday at Radisson Hotel, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain. PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
for 31ST OCTOBER, 2015
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The transformation of the UNC into a
one-man show, poor and election campaign
strategies were some of the main reasons
which lead Caroni East MP Dr Tim
Gopeesingh to run for the post of the party s
chairman and to endorse Oropouche East
MP Dr Roodal Moonilal as the UNC s polit-
Moonilal is contesting for the political
leadership in a bid to dethrone Opposition
leader and former prime minister Kamla
There have been a number of calls for
Persad-Bissessar to step down following a
series of election defeats for the party---the
last being the September 7 general election.
San Juan/Barataria MP Dr Fuad Khan had
said he would support her for the post of
The party would hold its internal election
on December 5.
Speaking at a press conference held at the
Radisson Hotel in Port-of-Spain yesterday
Gopeesingh described Moonilal as the best
person who could take the party forward
towards the ultimate aim of rebuilding and
to become a national force that could regain
"As much as these great UNC ideals
informed and inspired the last People's Part-
nership government's tenure, the reality is
that somewhere along the line in the last
five years, our party's systems and institutions
faltered from them and devolved into a one
person show, as was evidenced in the last
general election campaign, where the will
of the membership was consistently under-
represented, or at times, not represented at
all---with tactics that simply did not represent
who we were or what we stand for as a
party," Gopeesingh said.
Asked if he expressed his concern regarding
the "one-man show" Gopeesingh said the
UNC has an executive, adding that whom
the party had given the responsibility to for
ensuring the progress of the party should
have taken that responsibility serious."I would
have been out of place to even venture to
move forward to make my voice heard when
there were advisors and there was a political
"I tried to assist but it was too late,"
Regarding the UNC's campaign strategy
he said his advice was never sought, adding
that the party's internal team had a lot of
blame to share as a result.
Gopeesingh said some of his colleagues
had raised concerns regarding the UNC's
campaign strategies but was unsure whether
these were taken into consideration.
He said he believed T&T had reached the
end of ethnic polarisation politics as was
evident in the last election.
"I believe the last of the two leader...Dr
Rowley and Mrs Persad-Bissessar will be...no
longer that way. The country is calling for
a diversity in the politics," Gopeesingh said.
When asked why he now decided to pub-
lically declare his position, the former edu-
cation minister said it was necessary to
engage in active consultations with members
of the UNC and the Caroni East Constituency
executive, some past and present Parlia-
mentary colleagues, friends and family mem-
"Our defeat at the polls was considerably
influenced by the failure of the party's internal
arms and institutions as well as many short-
comings with the election campaign strategies
employed and authorised by the current
executive and leadership of the party.
"No politician worth his or her salt can
nor should ignore such painfully truthful
responses when faced with them in such
large volumes, as has happened in the past
two months, and I for one am not the type
of politician to bury my head in the sand
and ignore the realities that face us, good,
bad or frankly, ugly," Gopeesingh said.
He added that the UNC also need to do
significant work on its brand, image and
especially the party's internal institutions
and machinery if it was to remain a strong
political force and regain Government in the
next five years.
But Gopeesingh said he was grateful to
Persad-Bissessar for giving him the oppor-
tunity to serve as education minister. "Her
record as Prime Minister will remain impres-
sive and I will always have respect for her
abilities and achievements.
"However, I believe that as the political
party that most espouses the democratic
ideal of service to the people, the electorate
has given a key indication that it is unwilling
to accept the UNC as a Government under
the current leadership structure," Gopeesingh
Asked if his support would revert Persad-
Bisessar should Moonilal lose Gopeesingh
said whoever won had his full support.
UNC devolved into
a one man show
As the race for the leadership of the UNC heats
up, former minister of food production Devant
Maharaj has thrown his support behind Opposition
MP for Oropouche East Dr Roodal Moonilal as
leader of the UNC.
In a statement yesterday Maharaj said, "Having
sat next to Dr Roodal Moonilal in Cabinet for the
last four- and- a- half years I have an insight into
his political acumen and leadership abilities, and
because of this I wish to publicly offer my support
to Dr Moonilal as leader of the United National Con-
"It is with new blood, new vision and new lead-
ership style that will give the UNC a opportunity
to recapture government in 2020."
Maharaj said in first world democracies the focus
has now moved away from just one leader to that
of the leadership team.
"Though we fought the last election under the
brand of the political leader, the country valued the
power of the team over that of person, evidenced
by the less popular of two leaders becoming the new
"As such, I wish Dr Moonilal and his team the
best in the internal elections and thank Kamla Persad
Bissessar for her stewardship as leader, with the hope
that the sun will rise again in 2020," Maharaj added.
He said the party's internal elections would then
have to decide what direction the party would now
It was unquestionable, Maharaj added, that the
PP administration delivered an unprecedented level
of goods and services to the nation.
He added it was also undeniable that the coalition
of parties was held together due to almost the singular
efforts of Persad-Bissessar.
"Having put on record these facts it is also true
that every electoral battle since 2010 the People's
Partnership lost including the important 2015 general
elections. The public telegraphed repeatedly their
dissatisfaction and disappointment with the leadership
of the people's partnership.
"The leadership ignored the messages being sent
which resulted inevitably in our defeat at the polls.
Now the nation is paying as the PNM fumbles and
bumbles destroying lives of citizens." Maharaj said.
Saying that the country's electorate continued to
evolve with each election, Maharaj said the country
had also matured "As such I hold the opinion that
when a leader carries his or her troops to battle and
loses the leader should step down or at least offer
to step down.
He said having observed the dynamics of the UNC
and spoken to a number of his former Cabinet col-
leagues, some of whom were now Opposition, he
was certain that the internal elections would become
a keenly contested affair down to the final hour.
• See Page A5 ---GK
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