While Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar will be appointed as Opposition Leader today, some of her former key supporters have hardened their criticism of her continued leadership.
A number of Persad-Bissessar’s MPs and the UNC-controlled Princes Town Regional Corporation, recently expressed support for her
UNC activists yesterday added that the UNC under her leadership won more votes in the recent general election as a party on its own and without ties to other parties than the UNC did in 2015 when it was part of the People’s Partnership (PP) coalition. They noted Persad-Bissessar won the UNC’s leadership polls with increasing votes since 2010 when she bested UNC founder Basdeo Panday. They said she increased votes in 2015 against Roodal Moonilal ‘s challenge and in 2017 against Christine Newallo-Hosein’s and they saw no reason for her to resign.
But yesterday a video of former UNC MP Dr Fuad Khan was released, showing him saying why the UNC had lost elections. He said the same mistake was made which Panday made in 2001.
“This was saying ‘who want to go’ could go and not calling people,” Khan added.
He said the gains of the 2010 PP coalition were frittered away and over 2015-2020 no one tried to call anyone on unity though he, Ganga Singh, Panday and Jack Warner had sought this. If there had been unity, the election outcome might have been different, he added.
Khan claimed Panday tried to get an appointment to discuss unity with UNC and couldn’t get through. He added, “Now the PNM’s consolidating, thanks to us…sometime leaders have to take up the phone and have talks with people.”
“We lost. I hope in 2025 the leadership will come down from its pedestal and make phone calls. People may cuss you but at least you’ll have talks for a unified front. Stop being so egotistical – I’m fed up of it.”
UNC’s Devant Maharaj who’s relentlessly called for Persad-Bissessar “to go” released a lengthy statement yesterday, calling for the UNC to have internal elections this year.
He queried the leader’s bid to retain stay on (until party elections) and train new MPs. He cited issues which affected UNC’s team performance in Parliament last term.
“One of their most important lessons may have to be how to take instructions by phone as the leadership watching Parliament from home, phones in instructions. There was a failure to confront the Parliamentary music on difficult issues.”
“Monitoring of the Parliament showed the leadership failed to attend, participate and contribute in a meaningful way in the Parliament. Attendance was late or left early even when it involved debates that were touted as critical to UNC.”
He queried if MPs will be taught the same rationale that led the UNC to fail to support the appointment of a Commissioner of Police and other significant bills.
“Will they be taught how to deliver weak, boring debates that fail to make any news cycle and allow the PNM Government’s message to dominate the media?”
Maharaj asked if MPs would try to manipulate UNC’s Constitution and councillors and forgo competency in favour of posting items on social media.