Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 13th 2014 Contents A5
April 13, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Founder of the United National
Congress (UNC) Basdeo Panday
says he will consider forming his
own political party if UNC internal
elections, which are scheduled to
take place this year, are not free
This news from Panday was music
to the ears of interim leader of the
Independent Liberal (ILP) Jack
Warner who said he had no problem
merging the ILP with a new party
formed by Panday to contest the
2015 general elections.
Panday said people have been
encouraging him to contest the
UNC s election, which has been
delayed by 16 months. It was sup-
posed to be held last January.
In response to calls from UNC
members, the veteran politician said
he should be able to contest any
post in the UNC election if it is free
and fair. He claimed the 2010 elec-
tions were stolen and if on the next
occasion those contesting the elec-
tion are in control of the machinery
"the results will be determined
before the first vote is cast".
Panday was defeated by current
UNC political leader Kamla Persad-
Bissessar in the 2010 internal polls.
He told the Sunday Guardian: "If
the election is not free and fair, I
invite a mass resignation from the
UNC and the formation of a new
party to contest the elections in
Asked if he thinks he would get
the support from the people, Panday
admitted he could not say so for
sure but it is worth a try.
Asked whether he would invite
Warner s ILP to join forces with him
in a new party, Panday said: "If you
form a party you usually go in the
direction of the membership and
that is not possible until you form
the political party."
Warner said the UNC is crumbling
with those at the helm.
"This is not the party Basdeo Pan-
day and I fought for years ago," he
said, adding that he is willing "to
join any party whose objectives are
similar to ours (ILP) and whose goals
are the same".
"If it means that there are parties
willing for us to have a grand coali-
tion then I don t see a problem," he
The Chaguanas West MP said he
has no intention of forming a united
front with the PNM: "That is not
on the cards," Warner said.
Analyst: A testing
ground for both men
Political analyst Maukesh Basdeo
noted that the 2010 internal election
Panday was defeated by Bissessar
by a huge margin. He said the pos-
sibility of Panday forming a new
party and Warner joining him would
result another political coalition.
"Will it be powerful enough to
challenge the UNC and the coalition
of the COP, TOP and NJAC? I don t
know. A lot is going to happen in
the next couple of months in relation
to coalition politics," Basdeo said.
If Warner and Panday join forces
it would present a challenge to the
PNM, he said.
While Warner amassed a lot of
votes in the Chaguanas East by elec-
tion, the same did not happen for
the ILP in the 2013 local government
"All these things have to be taken
into consideration...the popularity
of the leader with Warner having a
lot of allegations surrounding him."
On the flip side, there are die-
hard UNC supporters who still look
up to Panday, he said.
"But being out of active politics
for four years is a long time. What
Panday would have to do is convince
the UNC base that he is the credible
leader. It would be a testing ground
for both men."
Basdeo said formation of a new
party could change the dynamics of
T&T s political landscape: "What
you are going to see is a further split
within the coalition of the PP. They
are obviously going to get people to
gravitate towards this new political
Another interesting scenario could
develop if current UNC members
and government ministers who were
on Panday s slate in 2010 cross the
floor to go to their former leader s
"That is what will be interesting.
A lot of scenarios could play out
here," Basdeo said.
Panday thinks about
forming new party
Barrington "Skippy" Thomas
claims the United National Con-
gress (UNC) wants to force him
out of his job as adviser to the
Minister of the People. However,
Thomas, a long-standing member
of the party, said he does not
intend to quit his position at the
ministry s Port-of-Spain office,
where he worked with former
minister Dr Glenn Ramadhars-
ingh for four years. His contract
at the ministry ends in Novem-
Thomas, the UNC s Tobago
regional co-ordinator, believes
Ramadharsingh was wrongly dis-
missed by Prime Minister Kamla
Persad-Bissessar and he intends
to "tell all" at a public meeting this
week. He told the Sunday Guardian
he has nothing to lose, gain or hide
and does not have "any cocoa in
In addition to the firing of
Ramadharsingh, Thomas also plans
to talk about ministers plotting
against each other and intimidatory
tactics used on party members.
"I don t like the direction the
party is heading," he said
Thomas has invited interim
leader of the Independent Liberal
Party (ILP) Jack Warner to speak
on his platform and said he would
ask UNC founder Basdeo Panday
to join him as a guest speaker, as
well as former attorney general
Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj.
On Friday, Warner said he need-
ed approval by the ILP executives
before joining Thomas.
Maharaj said he recently met
Thomas outside the court and told
him the UNC membership had to
come together to force the Gov-
ernment to step down.
"I told Skippy that the country
was in trouble and that anything
prepared to join in," he said.
Panday said Thomas is yet to
discuss the matter with him.
Thomas said he was not afraid
to step on the toes of the cabal to
save the UNC: "As I speak they
are calculating their efforts to get
rid of me. Everyone knows I am
an open book. I like rum shop....I
like my liquor and you would hear
obscene language from me when
I taking my liquor and liming. Out-
side of that, there is no corruption
or mauvais langue."
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar has taken charge of the
Ministry of the People. Thomas
said since Ramadharsingh s depar-
ture he has been sitting in his office
"I spoke to the permanent sec-
retary about not having anything
to do. I am very troubled by it. I
am uncomfortable coming here
and drawing taxpayers money and
not working for it," he said
He said he started a stream of
projects under Ramadharsingh
which he wants finished, but no
one is telling him anything.
"I am being victimised because
of Glenn. Right now I know of five
employee in here who are ready to
call it a day because they are feeling
like the sword of Damocles hanging
over their heads."
Last week, manager of the Inter
Agency Unit (IAU) Andrew Boodoo
had his services terminated fol-
lowing allegations of wrong-doing
within the IAU.
The IAU is a pilot project under
the Social Development Ministry
and is responsible for the voluntary
and involuntary removal of street
Skippy to tell all this week
Warner hopes it will merge with ILP
Barrington "Skippy" Thomas
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