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UNC leader: No alliance with any third party

Published: 
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The political leader of the United National Congress Kamla Persad-Bissessar said she does not intend to “go backwards,” and in her vision for the UNC “is to marry those with solid experience, with those who have new bright and fresh ideas.”

In one fell swoop, she also made it clear that the UNC will not be going into an alliance with any third party.

The UNC leader made her position clear on the issue in the midst of public statements made by one of her sitting Members of Parliament Dr Fuad Khan that the party needed to unite to win the next election and he had initiated discussions with UNC founder Basdeo Panday, his daughter Mickela Panday and others.

Speaking at a public meeting in St Joseph on Monday night, Persad-Bissessar said while “we welcome anyone who is willing to work for the people of Trinidad and Tobago and in the interest of Trinidad and Tobago, the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s were very different times to today.”

She said the party needed “new faces, new voices, new strength. We need the young people of our party and of our country to come forward. We are not going backwards,” she said.

Persad-Bissessar said “there are those who are looking for a place in the sun,” a reference to the party’s political symbol.

She urged supporters not to get “side-tracked,” by “the bleatings and cries of a few who think this party is not united.”

Her response to them was simply “this party has never been more united than it is today.”

The UNC leader said the party was not interested in any alliances, “for those who think we need crutches and props to win, get thee behind me. The UNC can win alone.”

She said some had been “spreading a narrative but I am not falling for third party tricks. You and all your members could fit in one maxi.”

The UNC, she said, had the “confidence” that it can win alone.

Commenting on the statements, Political analyst Dr Maukesh Basdeo said Persad-Bissessar appeared to have analysed the party and had found that it was stronger now, hence her reference to those looking for a place in the sun.

He said “using the concept of the party where it is now coming from the local election and then internal election if you compare the current administration as a party, she could say that the UNC stands much stronger than the governing party.”

Basdeo said Persad-Bissessar had “used the Sunday Guardian polls as a way of benchmarking the role and function of the government and in that context, she said the party is in a much stronger position now than it was since 2015.”

He said she had sent a signal that she was not “keen” on discussions with people who were past or former members, but is placing more emphasis on the younger members “for what we call succession in the future.”

Basdeo said people like Basdeo Panday would come with institutional knowledge of the party but he said Khan who initiated the discussions “may have realised that the time was not right to have such unity discussions.”

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