Anita Haynes-Alleyne: Can UNC currently win general election?

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Tabaquite MP Anita Haynes-Alleyne – Photo courtesy Parliament

TABAQUITE MP Anita Haynes-Alleyne asked members of the UNC if the party in its current form could win the general election due next year, addressing a rally of the party’s United Patriots (UP) slate in the Mayaro constituency on Wednesday, June 12. The election of a national executive (except leader) will be held nationwide on Saturday, June 15, between the UP slate and the Star Team which is aligned to UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

Haynes-Alleyne began by accusing several current party officials of declining to face the media and public upon the UNC’s loss of the 2020 general election, alleging instead they had said, “Anita, you go!” She said party members now had one simple question to consider on election day.

“The question you have to ask yourself is do you feel comfortable that the UNC will win an election now?

“And if you know in your heart that the answer is no, you know you must vote for the praying hands (symbol of the UP slate).”

She said it made no sense for members to sit down among themselves and grumble and mutter regrets like, “If we had only.”

Haynes-Alleyne said, “There is no more ‘if onlys’.

“If we allow 15 years of the PNM, there is no coming back for TT. If we allow 15 years of the PNM, there is no coming back for the UNC.”

Alleging the Star Team has chased members from the UNC, she asked what would be left of the party if that slate won on Saturday.

“You could imagine that the cost of speaking out in defence of your party is for them to say they will isolate you? And they will put you out?

“Put you out of what? This is not your house, this is our house.”

Haynes-Alleyne alleged that the Star Team was trying to mislead members.

She said any responsible leadership of the UNC would simply tell party members to decide which candidates were best for the national executive.

“Instead of having responsible leadership, in an attempt to endorse you are trying to call us ‘PNM’!

“You are trying to convince people it is two different parties running. All of that is not true! Why are you doing that? It is irresponsible, it is reckless and it will destroy the UNC.”

Haynes-Alleyne said the leadership simply had to tell members two slates were vying including one elected in 2010, 2015, 2017, 2020 and 2022, and if that slate had not worked, members must give them their walking papers.

“The winds of change are coming. The winds of change will sweep over the United National Congress and will sweep us into government in 2025.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the fate of the party is in your hands.”

Mayaro MP Rushton Paray said he wanted the UNC to win the next election, so the hard-working people of TT could win.

“The choice couldn’t be clearer – either you choose the ‘praying hands’ to get into government or you chose the other side and we stay in opposition. The choice is yours.”

He said the country was exhausted and anguished by crime, as friends and colleagues fall victim, with the nation slipping into anarchy.

“We have allowed ourselves to become passive spectators in a game where our futures and the futures of our children are being gambled away.” He urged more activism and civic engagement.

Paray accused the Government of neglect and an insensitivity to the population’s realities, with TT now being a cautionary tale in the Caribbean.

He said the UNC’s current national executive lacked the vision and vigour to challenge the PNM. UNC leadership must be able to attract both rural and urban support, Paray said.

“Our country must return to course correction and we must save our twin-island republic.”

Paray wanted a democratic UNC which acts upon a multiplicity of views.

“The UNC must cease being a store-house of a single person and become a robust market-place of ideas.

“Important decisions of our party must be taken by consensus, guided by skill and talent like the team in front of you here, not by whims and flattery.”He alleged the current national executive was aimless and useless. “That team doesn’t have the skill or will to take the UNC to national victory.”

Haynes-Alleyne and Paray are vying for positions of deputy political leader for the UP slate.