Hotly contested UNC internal election expected

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The Rushton Paray-led United Patriots. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

SOME 36 members of the United National Congress (UNC) representing two slates – Star and United Patriots – will do battle for 17 positions in the national executive elections on June 15, after a hotly contested campaign.

Voting will be open from 8 am at some 77 polling venues across the country and is scheduled to close at 6 pm.

No official results will be announced on Saturday, Davendranath Tancoo chairman candidate for the Star team, told Newsday.

“The result will be announced when the counting of ballots is completed. Official results, however, will be announced a couple days after. We must consider possible requests for recounts.”

Special voting took place on June 12 at the party’s Chaguanas headquarters, and Tancoo said that process went smoothly.

Tancoo said no schedule has been set for UNC’s political leader KamlaPersad-Bissessar to vote, but she will do so at the Debe Secondary School.

She has been campaigning hard for the Star team of candidates since the internal election was announced last month, amidst calls from five breakaway MPs who are contesting posts under the United Patriots banner.

The Patriots are led by Mayaro MP Rushton Paray, who is contesting one of the three seats for deputy political leader. Tabaquite MP Anita Haynes-Alleyne, and Cumuto/Manzanilla MP Dr Rai Ragbir are vying for the other two positions.

The position of political leader is not up for contest.

Paray said he will challenge Persad-Bissessar, who has been in that position for the past 14 years, when election for it becomes due.

Paray said he will vote at the Rio Claro Presbyterian School at 10 am.

Tancoo said most of the Star candidates will elect to vote early, to facilitate involvement in running the election-day machinery.

The Star team

Davendranath Tancoo (party chairman)

Jearlean John; David Lee, Dr Roodal Moonilal (deputy political leaders)

Hamlyn Jailal (vice-chairman)

Barry Padarath (party organiser)

Saddam Hosein (policy and strategy officer)

Sean Sobers (research officer)

Arnold Ram (election officer)

Viliana Ramoutarsingh (treasurer)

Wilfred Nicholas Morris (international relations officer)

Ravi Ratiram (education officer)

Khadijah Ameen, Vandana Mohit; Shanty Boodram; Eli Zakour and Kenwyn Phillip: regional co-ordinators

United Patriots team

Larry Lalla: chairman

Paray, Haynes and Ragbir: deputy political leader

Germaine Abdulla: deputy chairman

Dr Curtis Mancoon: treasurer

Kiel Taklalsingh: policy and strategy officer

William Archie: elections officer

Shanta Devi Seepersad: education officer

Jason Ali: research officer

Henry Awong: party organiser

Deochand Ramjit Singh: international relations officer

Ricky Shanklin, Roshan Ali, Jarzinho Rigsby, Imran Mohammed and Chinelle Roberts: regional co-ordinators.