Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 7th 2015 Contents A5
Monday, December 7, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The United National Congress (UNC) has spoken
and in a voice that was not at all surprising.
In analysing Saturday's overwhelming victory
for Kamla Persad-Bissessar as the party's re-elected
political leader, political scientist Dr Winford James
said yesterday that it was clear the membership
was not significantly impressed by either Vasant
Bharath or Dr Roodlal Moonilal.
James said what was pertinent now was for Per-
sad-Bissessar to now embrace her losing chal-
"It is now for Mrs Persad-Bissessar to reunify
the party, to bring it together, to heal the wounds
and accept that the challenge she faced from Mooni-
lal and Bharath was a legitimate challenge and
should not in any way cause the kind of personal
statements that she made before the election day,"
James said in a telephone interview yesterday.
"They are members of the UNC and she should
appreciate that and go to the higher ground of
maturity, grace and dignity and treat them as if
they did nothing wrong although we are hearing
Persad-Bissessar, he added, had shown she has
the capability to mend the UNC but this would
take some level of perseverance.
"Obviously, those who lost have a part to play
as well and in the spirit of democracy it would be
nice if Moonilal and Bharath would call her and
congratulate her," James said.
Told that Bharath had already done so via text
message, James said texting was "too passive and
"Call her and tell her. In fact if they can meet
with her it would be even better and if she refuses
then they could tell the public we tried to talk with
her and she turned us down," James said.
On whether Moonilal was acting like "sour
grapes" given his claims the election process was
flawed, James said the fact that there were allegations
that the names of long standing members were not
on the list cannot be ignored.
"These are things that must be investigated, but
I don't think that the complaints are numerous
enough having regard to the one-sidedness of Mrs
Persad-Bissessar's win," James said.
"While it might come across as sour grapes, I
think he should have the maturity to put everything
in context and I don't think I have heard him do
that. He has focused on the complaint as a loser."
Political analyst Mukesh Basdeo said the fact
that Persad-Bissessar's slate was victorious was a
sign that the membership did not vote in a "cross
"The result was not surprising. The party has
basically endorsed Mrs Persad-Bissessar as the
political leader for the next three years and has also
given her an executive that she can work with,"
"Her slate was victorious so the party members
did not vote in a cross slate, but they chose one
person from one slate ...she has an executive that
is of her own picking and being endorsed and win-
ning convincingly over the other candidates puts
her in her in a position to actually lead the party."
This was how Vasant Bharath, one of the
three candidates vying for the post of polit-
ical leader of the United National Congress,
described his lost yesterday.
But in the face of defeat, Bharath vowed
to work with everyone, including its re-
elected political leader Kamla Persad-Bisses-
sar, for the greater good of the party.
Persad-Bissessar secured a landslide vic-
tory on Saturday, although serious questions
are being raised due to irregularities high-
In an interview yesterday, Bharath said
his slate and the members of his team who
worked hard on the campaign trail were
also particularly disappointed.
"Clearly, I feel obviously disappointed
not just for myself but for the party. A lot
of work would have gone into the election
campaign, because we brought a different
and fresh approach to the organisation that
was sorely needed if the organisation was
to get out of the crisis which I still think
it is in.
"I feel very disappointed not just for
myself but more so to my young team. But
obviously that is the democratic will of the
"Clearly the membership weren't con-
vinced by our message of change and so
therefore they would have fit in with the
status quo," Bharath said
Wishing the new national executive well,
the former food production minister said
he remained undaunted by his defeat, adding
that because he had been in politics for
many years he understood that sometimes
many of these things were out of one's con-
A surprising factor, he said, was the mas-
sive turnout on Saturday, especially given
the party's recent defeat at the general elec-
He said ultimately, T&T deserved to have
a strong Opposition given the fact that the
country was facing many challenges, in par-
ticular the low oil and gas prices and other
issues that would now flow from that.
Regarding plans to work with Persad-
Bissessar to move the UNC forward, Bharath
said this appeared uncertain as Persad-
Bissessar had said she was not prepared to
work with either himself, Dr Roodal Moonilal
or Dr Tim Gopeesingh.
"I myself had said openly and I am pre-
pared to work with anyone and I think all
leaders should work with anyone that they
have to in the interest of the organisation,"
"I am prepared to work with Mrs Per-
sad-Bissessar but I need some time to myself
to make some personal decisions."
On reported discrepancies during the
election process, Bharath, while expressing
his concerns, said he had conceded to defeat
and had no intention of contesting the
"The concerns are those I have shared
throughout the period and it is either a lack
of competence on the part of the party itself
or it is deliberate. Which ever the case, it
is clearly not acceptable... people who were
actual card-carrying members ,their names
were not on the list.
"People were also actively campaigning
in the polling stations and we also had the
issue of the ink coming off very quickly.
There was no doubt in my mind that this
was clearly an issue, but whether or not
that allowed people to have multiple votes
I don''t know. But these are things which
causes doubt in people's mind," Bharath
He said given the fact that the UNC also
had a matter before the High Court, where
the transparency surrounding the general
election was brought into question, the
party must also display a similar level of
Bharath said he had also congratulated
Persad-Bissessar, via text message, on her
win, to which she had replied with the word
Political analysts not surprised
'Party must reunite
to move forward'
Vasant needs time to heal
After disappointing election loss
Members of CNC3's News Team pose for a picture at Guardian Media Ltd's Hollywood-themed Christmas Dinner and Employee Awards
Ceremony at the Anchorage Beach Club, Chaguaramas, on Saturday evening. PHOTO:DARREN RAMPERSAD
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