Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 15th 2015 Contents said he would also examine the party s
He insisted that the election was not
about him or his slate, but the hope of
every member and supporter.
Bharath received loud applause when
he said that his team would not "tolerate
arrogance, high handedness, mediocrity
He said several UNC members had com-
plained that quite a few government min-
isters were arrogant and high handed.
"I think that is what led to our defeat.
As you all know, we have an election peti-
tion to is currently before the court.
November 15, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Minutes after launching the
slate for his newly-formed "Team
Reconnect" at the Couva South
Hall yesterday, Vasant Bharath
raised concerns about the United
National Congress (UNC) internal
elections process, saying he does
not believe it would be free and
fair when voters go to the polls
on December 5.
"I do have concerns.... serious
concerns. I have alluded to the fact
that people have said to me that
they received a text message that
I sent to them asking whether they
would support me."
But he denied sending text mes-
sages to UNC members who are
illegible to vote and warned that
he would "expose" the irregularities
in the elections "in due course."
"But I suspect from what I am
told that those text messages are
being used to take supporters of
certain contenders off the (electoral)
list," he said.
In the lead up to the September
7 general election voters also
received unsolicited telephone calls
to private mobile numbers aimed
at seeking their support for the
UNC. Told that allegation he was
making was similar to one of the
strategies used in former prime
minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar s
general election campaign, Bharath
said he could not say that.
"The point I am signalling to
the existing national executive at
Rienzi Complex and hierarchy of
the party is that we are going to
be very vigilant in terms of the
areas where we believe there can
be manipulation of the votes."
Bharath said he found out about
the calls by accident on Thursday.
"Someone came to me and apol-
ogised for not responding to the
text messages. I knew nothing
about it," he said.
Bharath said, however, that it
was impossible to control the elec-
tion process to ensure that it was
free and fair.
"This is what Mr (Basdeo) Pan-
day has been alluding to."
Addressing a small group of
party supporters at the venue,
Bharath said based on previous
campaigns he suspects the election
will get nasty.
"I don t hold out much hope
that it s going to be very clean," he
Among those present at the
launch were Garvin Nicholas, Stacy
Roopnarine and Stephen Cadiz,
who are part of his slate, Dhanoo
Sookoo, Manohar Ramsaran and
Asked if he was not successful
at the polls what would be his next
move, Bharath said he intends to
take things one step at a time and
lead his team to victory.
"The intention is to reconnect
with the UNC population and
thereafter with the wider popula-
tion. We have a lot of work to do."
Bharath said he was confident
he could topple his opponents, Dr
Roodal Moonilal and Persad-
Bissessar, because he had a strong,
experienced, dedicated and young
team. Asked what gives him the
edge over his contenders, Bharath
said he was known regionally and
internationally for having what is
required to take a local organisation
and fix it very quickly.
Team Reconnect s campaign will
being funded by donations from
the business community and ordi-
nary folks, he said.
Bharath said "no longer should
we be beholden to a very few fin-
anciers, who then unfortunately
will extract their pound of flesh
from the organisation. We need to
move away from that."
Many wrongs in last 5 years
In the last five years, Bharath
said the UNC had made many mis-
takes, but primarily allowed the
institutions of authority to almost
irretrievably break down.
"We were not listening to the
people and their concerns and
understanding that ultimately the
party can only grow or the gov-
ernment could only survive if the
party was strong. It may or may
not have been deliberate, but at
the end of the day the end result
was the party s institutions were
allowed to flounder."
Saying the party would require
a lot of healing, Bharath said should
he win the leadership post he
intends to visit all 41 constituencies
with the national executives. He
Vasant unveils early treachery
...text message election plot surfaces again
Candidate vying for the post of UNC political leader, Vasant Bharath, right, pose with supporter Patricia Ann Ottley
during the launch his UNC Team Reconnect slate the party's Couva South Constituency office yesterday.
PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
Dr Fuad Khan---chairman (MP for San
Garvin Nicholas---deputy political leader
Stephen Cadiz---deputy political leader
Rishi Tripathi---regional coordinator central
Dr Ramchand Rampersad---policy and
Ralph Henry---north/west regional
Prakash Williams---elections officer
Camille Elie-Govind---south coordinator
Sharon Harrilal---international relations
Valini Chadee-Dhanraj---research officer
Vishnu Koon Koon---regional coordinator
Shane Mohammed---vice chairman
Wazeer Aleem---party organiser
Nirmala Sesnarayan---education officer
TEAM RECONNECT SLATE
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"And while we eagerly await the
outcome of that matter, we must ask
ourselves if we are prepared as a party
to win those six seats if the matter
goes in our favour. Have we recaptured
the imagination of those who may
not have voted for us. I think we all
know the answer," he said.
Bharath said the wrongs committed
by the UNC were when monies were
amassed by some over the last five
years and used to buy radio stations,
journalists and announcers, or remove
the names from the membership list
because of the perceived preference
for one candidate over another.
Bharath said maximum leadership
was a recipe for disaster.
"We must treat with allegations of
misconduct head on. As a party our
future must not be coloured by the
inappropriate actions of a few in office.
Today, I say to you it is time to move
away from the political rhetoric that
has nothing to do with improving the
quality of your lives but everything to
do with selfish leaders wanting to stay
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