Mayaro MP: I don’t fear expulsion from UNC

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Member of Parliament for Mayaro Rushton Paray speaks during a press conference at the Couva Chamber of Commerce Hall. – Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

MAYARO MP Rushton Paray says he is not afraid of UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s threat to expel him from the party for demanding greater internal democracy.

Paray also says his decision not to continue publicly speaking about democracy within the UNC is in no way an admission of defeat or a decision to bow to the wishes of Persad-Bissessar and other UNC members who support her.He made his position clear in a statement on April 28.

“My last statement (on April 27) appears to have been misinterpreted, so let me make it abundantly clear: I am continuing my call for the UNC internal elections. Whilst I do not intend to engage in any media tit-for-tat with my colleagues, I will not relent in my call for internal elections.”

Paray has no fear of Persad-Bissessar’s threat of expulsion from the UNC.

“I am more concerned about the current state of the UNC and what will become of our country if we allow this corrupt and incompetent PNM regime to win a third successive general election.”

Persad-Bissessar issued her threat to Paray and any other dissidents in the UNC in an interview on April 26. She also accused him of being a PNM “infiltrator.”

Under the UNC’s constitution, the political leader does not have the sole authority to expel any member. This is reflected in section 21, which deals extensively with discipline. Ordinary party members, MPs, senators and members of local government corporations are all subject to be disciplined under this part of the constitution.

Section 21(d) states, “Any member of the party serving in Parliament or on any municipal corporation or other public forum who votes contrary to the declared policies or principles or programmes of the party or to any directive of the party on any matter, or who wilfully omits to vote or to act in accordance with any directive or policies, principles or programmes of the party or does or wilfully omits to do any act in connection therewith which in the opinion of the national executive (Natex) conflicts with or is contrary to the declared policies, or principles or programmes of the party is liable to immediate suspension pending the determination thereof by the disciplinary committee.”

“Should the committee deem the offence serious enough to warrant expulsion from the party, Section 21(d) adds that the offending individual “shall not subsequently be or be entitled to be a member of the party, except after the expiration of five years from the date of any such act or omission or otherwise as the case may be and then only upon the recommendation of the (UNC’s) National Congress and on such terms and conditions as the National Congress may prescribe.”

This body is the equivalent of the PNM’s annual convention.

In both cases, all members of the party, including the general membership, assemble publicly at scheduled times to deliberate and vote on matters considered important to the party.

Paray said that while threatening to expel him, Persad-Bissessar also reiterated her promise that internal elections will be held when they are constitutionally due.

“I am pleased that Mrs Persad-Bissessar has made a commitment to call the elections when they are constitutionally due.

“I along with many UNC supporters are now eagerly awaiting the date of internal elections.” Paray reiterated that he would not give up on his call for greater internal democracy in the party.