Black Immigrant Daily News
File photo: Former UNC MP Ramona Ramdial.
FORMER UNC MPs Dr Fuad Khan and Ramona Ramdial have slammed people within the party who they accuse of using them to try and remove Opposition Leader and Siparia MP Kamla Persad-Bissessar as political leader when the party holds its congress in Couva on Sunday.
The source of contention was a motion filed by Khan and Ramdial to be raised at the congress, which was interpreted differently in two daily newspaper reports (not Newsday).
Checks by Newsday revealed there were copies of a fake motion, purportedly from Khan and Ramdial, circulating on social media which claimed they were calling for Persad-Bissessar’s removal as political leader.
Ramdial provided a copy of what she said is the authentic motion signed by Khan and herself, to Newsday. This motion was addressed to UNC general secretary Peter Kanhai on Wednesday.
The motion acknowledged the UNC’s failure to win any national election (general or local government) since it lost the September 7, 2015 general election.
The motion’s resolution called for Persad-Bissessar and the UNC’s national executive (natex) to find a way to approach, communicate with and bring former past executive and founding UNC members who have been politically inactive, to play a role in “the forward strategy of the pary.”
The motion states, “Failure to develop such a plan within three months should result in a new internal election for the Natex without the position of political leader being contested.” This means Persad-Bissessar remains UNC leader for the foreseeable future.
Such an election, the motion continued, should be developed on the method used by American political parties, consisting of primaries (in which rival candidates will participate in debates), and general meetings held by the UNC throughout TT.
The motion proposes that candidates be asked questions from a panel chosen from the UNC’s elders; all candidates will be questioned in front of each other and party supporters on the same platform and the candidates will compete for the offices of deputy political leaders, chairman and vice-chairman alone.
The motion concluded, “In doing so, the best of the party will emerge and the party will be stronger in the future.”
Khan, who unsuccessfully challenged Persad-Bissessar for the leadership last July, said, “I never attacked Kamla and I never asked for her to be replaced.”
He believes the UNC members attacking him and Ramdial “obviously have a song to sing for their supper.”
Khan said his history in public life shows he previously supported Persad-Bissessar as UNC leader and UNC founder/leader Basdeo Panday before that. He never pretended to support anyone when he did not.
“Those who pretended to support Panday while silently supporting other emerging leaders should apologise.”
Khan declared, “I have always been open to what I believe and will stand for by it. If I have a different opinion I say it openly without fear or favour.”
He reiterated that people attacking him and Ramdial for an erroneous article should “look at their own history.” Ramdial agreed with Khan. “Clearly they reading the wrong motion.”
Ramdial said, “We are not fighting Kamla. We are calling for unity of the UNC. To engage all sidelined party members for the sake of the party’s survival.”
Ramdial added, “There is overwhelming support for this motion even from non-members.”
She said with local government elections due later this year and the general election two years away, the time is now to begin to unite the UNC.