Haynes-Alleyne: MPs have no fear after elections

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Mayaro MP Rushton Paray and Tabaquite MP Anita Haynes-Alleyne during a press conference at the United Patriots headquarters in Mc Bean, Couva, on June 16. – Venessa Mohammed

UNC MPs aligned to the United Patriots slate have no fear of the possibility of not being chosen to contest next year’s general election as UNC candidates as a consequence of openly challenging the Star slate-controlled national executive (natex) in the party’s internal elections on June 15.

Tabaquite MP Anita Haynes-Alleyne made this position clear when she addressed a news conference held by the Patriots slate in McBean, Couva on June 16.

Earlier in the day, the UNC elections management committee released preliminary results, which showed the Star slate sweeping the Patriots slate 213,651 to 62,186 votes.

The Star slate was endorsed by Opposition Leader and UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

Haynes-Alleyne, Mayaro MP Rushton Paray and Cumuto/Manzanilla MP Dr Rai Ragbir failed to remove incumbent UNC deputy leaders Dr Roodal Moonilal, Jearlean John and David Lee from their posts in the elections.

Chaguanas West MP Dinesh Rambally and Naparima MP Rodney Charles publicly aligned themselves with the Patriots.

Paray, Haynes-Alleyne, Ragbir and Rambally all submitted nomination forms to the UNC’s natex to stand for re-election in their respective constituencies in 2025.

Charles publicly announced last year that he would not contest next year’s general election.

Asked whether she or her fellow MPs believe they will not be chosen to contest the election because of their association with the United Patriots, Haynes-Alleyne said, “With respect to us as Members of Parliament and selection (as general election candidates), I think for all of us going into this (internal elections), we understood that the natex has the responsibility of choosing candidates in the general election.”

She added, “All we can do is urge that the natex, as it is duly elected now, makes decisions in the best interest of the UNC for a win in the general election in 2025.”

Haynes-Alleyne then made this point clear on behalf of Paray, Rambally, Ragbir and herself.

“At no point in time, I would say, did we ever mention that we were concerned about (political) self-preservation. We were always very concerned with whether or not the UNC will be in a position to win the 2025 general election.”

Haynes-Alleyne said she did not understand what UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar meant by the Patriots running a dishonest election campaign.

She said, “That is factually inaccurate and those things can be checked.”

Haynes-Alleyne reminded the media that the Patriots ran a campaign for “a stronger UNC for a stronger TT.”

The campaign, she continued, focused on election promises made previously by the incumbent natex on issues such as greater outreach initiatives towards the party’s membership and a permanent party headquarters.

“So, these are things that are factually things that are needed in our party. Therefore, I can’t answer to what Mrs Persad-Bissessar is saying is a campaign built on a lie.”

Paray agreed with Haynes-Alleyne.

Far from promoting dishonesty, Paray said the Patriots’ campaign created hope within the UNC and population that the party can still be a viable political entity to promote good governance.

He added that all members of the Patriot slate, Haynes-Alleyne, Ragbir, Rambally, Charles and himself, remain fully committed to the UNC.

But Paray also posed this question.

“The critical question we must ask now is, is Trinidad and Tobago better off this morning with these results?”

In a Whatsapp comment sent to Newsday, Rambally said, “I am the least bothered when it comes to my own political career. In any event, it is the people who will ultimately decide my ‘political’ future.”

Before entering electoral politics, he continued, he was engaged in public service.

“My continuing aim for betterment for TT will not be circumscribed by whether I am a member of parliament or limited to winning any elections.”

In a Facebook post, attorney Larry Lalla, SC, accepted the election results.

Lalla unsuccessfully contested the chairman post on the Patriots’ slate.

He said, “While I am disappointed that we were not able to influence change in the UNC, I’m more concerned about how the country feels about the result and what it means for the future of all of us.”

Concern for the country’s future, Lalla continued, motivated him to participate in the elections.

He said that concern will continue to motivate his actions going forward.

“Change is never easy, but once efforts at change are done with a clear conscience, failure brings no regrets.”