Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 27th 2016 Contents A13
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Despite a pledge by
Barataria/San Juan MP Dr Fuad
Khan to donate his entire salary
so the UNC can continue using
Rienzi Complex, Couva, as its
headquarters for the next three
months until alternative arrange-
ments can be made, the party s
long-standing member, Vasant
Bharat, believes this may be futile.
The party is facing eviction by
the All Trinidad Sugar and General
Workers Trade Union (ATSGWTU)
after negotiations failed.
Khan said he had been a member
of the party since its inception and
having served as a parliamentarian
for over 20 years, he had nothing
but deep respect and admiration
for those who founded and led the
party to become the institution it
Saying he wrote to the general
secretary of the UNC to inform the
party of his pledge, Khan added:
"This would not only offer peace
of mind to members and supporters
of the party who are concerned
about the situation but also will
pay respects to the All Trinidad
Sugar and General Workers Trade
Union for its tremendous support
in the past."
He hoped the gesture would also
inspire his colleagues and other
members of the party to do the
same so that the legacy of the party
would be maintained.
It was for that reason above all
else, Khan said, he believed it was
time for the national executive, its
members and supporters to band
together and rescue the party in its
time of need.
He added: "While negotiations
between the UNC and the ATS-
GWTU on the rental agreement for
use of the Rienzi Complex have
broken down, the party should not
hasten its exit, especially since no
alternative arrangements have yet
"We should instead take this time
to take stock of our current con-
dition and strengthen our position
in order to move forward proper-
ly."He also paid tribute to the party s
founding father, Basdeo Panday,
who Khan said had offered his life
insurance as the collateral necessary
for the union to finance the con-
struction of Rienzi Complex.
"Both organisations have shared
an intertwined destiny ever since.
It is therefore jarring to members
of both organisations to see their
cohabitation come to an end after
only 28 years.
"That being said, there should
not be any animosity or ill-will
between either organisation on the
advent of their separation since
there is still room for future col-
laborations, despite us parting
ways," Khan added.
When contacted yesterday
Bharath, who said he was saddened
by the turn of events, said he met
with the union s president, Nirvan
Maharaj, for about an hour two
weeks ago to chart a way forward.
He said the UNC should at least
maintain a sub-office at Rienzi.
However, talks were not fruitful.
"But at the end of the day Mr
Maharaj said he had nothing with
me personally but he had an issue
regarding the way in which the
entire negotiations took place over
a period of time. I am just very sad
it has come to this," Bharath added.
Maharaj, who spoke to members
of the media during a protest at the
Ministry of Agriculture, St Clair,
some two weeks ago, had said there
was "a lot of misconception" taking
He explained: "Since 2010, the
union would have been writing to
the UNC to engage with us for a
"The party so far has failed to
do so. In fact the party has treated
the union with utter disdain and
contempt and has never once sat
down or responded to any corre-
spondence the union would have
sent them concerning a lease
Since 2010 the party has been
on a month-to-month contract
with the union. The party is now
looking for a new headquarters after
being served notice to leave the
place it has called home for the past
The UNC had said the monthly
rental fee of $25,000 as proposed
by the union was too much.
However, Maharaj had said he
was baffled by that.
"I don t understand why they
could be saying this at all. As an
incumbent political party in gov-
ernment, at the end of the day peo-
ple fail to understand that before
2010 the UNC enjoyed the use of
Rienzi Complex free of charge.
"They were actually paying a
stipend of $2,500. When we raised
the rent to $12,000 they refused to
negotiate with us but they paid the
rent and out of the historical
dynamics of the past we allowed a
certain leeway because we hoped
that the matter would come to some
sort of resolution," Maharaj added.
Oropouche East MP, Dr Roodal
Moonilal, when contacted yesterday
regarding Khan s proposal only said:
"I applaud Dr Khan s initiative and
good intentions...as always."
Calls and texts messages to the
party s political leader Kamla Per-
sad-Bissessar went unanswered.
Khan said he had no response from
any of his colleagues.
A model displays a costume from the section, Bachannal, from Ronnie
and Caro 2017 Carnival presentation titled, Fearless 10 in St Clair on
Saturday night. PHOTO: SEAN NERO
Fuad pledges salary
to keep UNC at Rienzi
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