The United National Congress lost St Joseph by only 800 votes in general election and if leadership challenger Vasant Bharath had been assisting and everyone was together, the constituency might have become UNC’s 20th seat says Neil Gosein.
Gosine, a candidate on the Star slate of incumbent Kamla Persad-Bissessar, spoke at a Couva South meeting last Sunday, as the UNC’s election approaches on Sunday.
Speakers attacked Bharath and former Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial, who was targeted by her successor Ravi Ratiram.
Gosein said in 2020 “we didn’t see Bharath in St Joseph. We were still looking for him but he never came out to assist but we heard he went to other areas – like Moruga, where he was making pineapple chow.”
“We lost by only 800 votes, If he had come out with us in 2002 – I doubt it though – and had gone to some of those in St Joseph areas, it might have made a bit of a difference. Eight hundred is a small number, with everyone putting in an effort together, we might have been the 20th seat for the UNC.”
Damian Lyder said the UNC needed a strong leader, as the People’s National Movement was robbing citizens of their rights.
“We’re witnessing happening live in our faces where there are Venezuelans walking in our country daily who have more rights than our own citizens. They’re coming by the hundreds and thousands and given rights to stay while our citizens are left languishing in foreign lands.”
He said if people wanted to be UNC leader they had to work for it like Persad-Bissessar, who, in the 2010 party polls against Basdeo Panday,”didn’t cry and whimper about who was in charge of the executive. These fellas just want to walk in and take leadership – what Vasant Bharath and his slate do to earn leadership?
“Where were they in 2020 when we needed then the most. We walked St Joseph, sweat and rain, he was sheltering in a pineapple patch in Moruga – what he was doing there when we UNC had an election to win. I hope he don’t sink with the captain of the Sinking ship (Gypsy)!”
Ratiram said he’d called Ramdial to assist after getting the candidacy and he claimed she said she was heartbroken and needed time. He accused her of “sending she staff to organise protest” and she’d “stage-managed” protests against him but he still won the seat.
Barry Padarath said those wanting a Panday or Bharath to lead the party must understand Persad-Bissesar won’t “parachute” people in at the top and they had to work their way from the bottom up. He called for Bharath to say if his alleged “behaviour” in Chaguanas West and St Joseph had cost him those areas. Padarath repeated allegations about offices there being occupied “by people doing Lord know what” when Bharath was co-ordinator
Sean Sobers said Persad-Bissessar’s connectiveness and mother figure image was why she was so successful. Nicholas Morris said members couldn’t support a person for leader who didn’t sit in Parliament. Eli Zakour asked Bharath, “What have you done sir for T&T?”