UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is greeted by deputy political leader Dr Roodal Moonilal while Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh and other party supporters look on. – Marvin Hamilton
AMIDST concerns from within her membership about her leadership and suggestions that the party was at its weakest and she must go, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar maintained that she and her party were at their strongest.
Raising a closed fist in the air, she asserted before members at the party’s national congress at Couva Multi-Purpose Hall on Sunday evening, “I feel like Hulk.
“I am strong and ready to take on all comers.”
Waxing religious, she quoted from the book of Psalms, “Yea though we walk in the valley of the shadow of death, we shall fear no evil,” she told detractors, “Get thee behind me, Satan.”
She said she was not selected, but elected by the people who were her real bosses to lead the party.
“You gave me votes by the thousands and lead we will, right into victory whenever elections are called. We are not a one-woman team, we are a team of many, of great talent.”
Addressing concerns about her health, she asked, “Was it the UNC leader who got covid five times?
“Was it the leader of the UNC who disappeared for over a month on a medical trip abroad?
“Don’t worry about me, I feel good. I feel like Hulk. I am strong and ready to take on all-comers.”
Assuring that the UNC is a democratic party and not a cult, she trained her guns on the “naysayers,” saying there was a difference between constructive criticism and insults.
She said she would not allow anyone to insult her membership and party and would stand up in its defence.
Pointing out the UNC was a democratic institution and not a cult like others, she knocked those who spoke of the party being taken over by a “black caucus” and the now defunct NAR.
“I did not know we had a black caucus in the party. We represent all the colours of the rainbow. I am proud of all the black people in the party,” she said telling a story of her first encounter with racism when she was 16 years old and went to England to study.
She said she attempted to hold an English woman when the woman screamed at her not to touch her.
“That was my first encounter with racism,” she said telling her audience that,“ I discovered something, if you are not white, you are black. We are all black – all of us, black together, we are one people.”
She said her party was all-encompassing and diverse.
“We are one family. It does not matter the colour of skin or texture of the hair. We have one purpose, one united UNC family.”
She said under her leadership, she was focused on changing the face of the party from one of the hereditary aristocracy to one of diversity and meritocracy.
“People want to bring back the man and his daughter and his wife. That is not the UNC. The UNC today is about the rank and file and children of the rank and file. “
To make any kind of advancement in removing the ruling PNM from office, Persad-Bissesssar said, the focus of the UNC is to build the party by speaking with smaller political entities, people who are non-aligned and members who are inactive.
She said they also want to impress first-time voters that they are the obvious choice to lead the country and have already started an outreach programme for new voters.
She said she wants the UNC to be seen as the beacon of hope to light the way in this time of darkness, tyranny and dictatorship.