Former MPs: Questions over UNC’s future

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Vasant Bharath –

FORMER UNC MPs Vasant Bharath, Dr Fuad Khan and Dr Devant Maharaj have said the outcome of the UNC’s internal elections on June 15 raised serious questions about the party’s political future.

They expressed their reviews after preliminary results on June 16 showed the incumbent Star slate defeating the United Patriots slate, 213,651 to 62,186 votes.

Bharath said, “The instability of the UNC post the internal election will further reinforce, in the public’s mind, its unsuitability to govern the country.

“What is required is a new political movement, a phoenix from the ashes, that is attuned to the current needs and aspirations of the population.”

Such a movement, he continued, must focus on transparency, accountability, meritocracy and policies that address economic activity, creation of jobs, social equity and equality and severe measures to address crime.

“It must be one that engages community and grassroots initiatives and must empower people to take charge of their own development and destiny. Only then can we move to a political landscape that better serves the needs, aspirations and dreams of our people.”

Bharath believed the political fate of UNC MPs Rushton Paray, Anita Haynes-Alleyne, Dr Rai Ragbir and Dinesh Rambally was sealed by the election results.

“The future of the ‘dissidents’ is clear, they will be screened out and emasculated as MPs.”

He added it is clear that both the UNC and the PNM have become politically irrelevant and inimical to the development of TT and its citizens.

“Most people view both as two sides of the same coin with issues of persistent corruption and nepotism and failure to address long-term economic challenges. Rising crime, inadequate healthcare and poor educational outcomes continue to plague the country.”

Khan said, “They (UNC) choose to retain the same losing system and the country has nowhere to go except rotation in a small teacup with no hope of innovation and forward progression.”

He added the election results show the UNC, similar to the PNM, has charlatans who parade as leaders and use tribal emotions to achieve their political objectives.

Maharaj said, “Manipulated UNC supporters reward incompetence and the tarnished again.”

At a news conference in McBean, Couva on June 16, Paray said the argument that the Star slate may have received 17,000 votes does not square with the reality that some 100,000 UNC members did not vote in the elections.

He added this was a case of people looking at the data versus the data looking at you.

Paray said people must ask themselves if the result of the elections has left them better off.

He added it was now the job of the incoming UNC national executive (natex) to deliver on its campaign promises and position the party in the best position to defeat the PNM in next year’s general election.

Haynes-Alleyne said it is also a fact that in recent years, there has been a decline in people’s interest in participating in any election.

She added that one of the objectives of the Patriots’ campaign was to strengthen the political brand of the UNC.