Mohit: ‘I’m part of Team UNC’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Chaguanas East MP Vandana Mohit enters the Red House to attend a sitting of the Electoral College after meeting protesters against the nomination of Christine Kangaloo for President on January 20. Kangaloo was later elected to the post. File photo/Angelo Marcelle

CHAGUANAS East MP Vandana Mohit on Monday joined her fellow UNC parliamentary colleagues in dismissing claims of a rift in the party after three of its parliamentarians did not vote for the UNC’s presidential nominee Israel Khan SC in the Electoral College on January 20.

In making her comment, Mohit revealed how she voted on that day.

“I can answer for myself. I nominated and voted for Israel Khan. I am a part of team and when we make decisions as a team those decisions stand.”

Mohit had no idea of the identities of three UNC parliamentarians who did not vote for Khan.

“As for who spoilt ballots those persons may need to answer this question. I am honestly not in a position to answer this question at this time.”

The Electoral College voted 48-22 in favour of former Senate president Christine Kangaloo being elected to serve as TT’s seventh President.

The college comprises all members of the House and Senate, including the Speaker and the Senate President.

The vote for Kangaloo comprised 39 government members (including Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George and Senate President Nigel De Freitas) and nine independent senators.

The vote from the Opposition in support of Khan was 22, three short of the UNC’s full parliamentary membership in the House and Senate.

UNC parliamentarians Dr Roodal Moonilal, Davendranath Tancoo, Lackram Bodoe, Rushton Paray, Rodney Charles and Jayanti Lutchmedial have all rejected claims that a palace coup had taken place in the UNC as a result of how its parliamentarians voted on January 20.

On Saturday, PNM MPs Faris Al-Rawi, Colm Imbert and Fitzgerald Hinds all claimed that a palace coup had taken place in the UNC in the aftermath of three of its members not supporting Khan’s nomination.

Moonilal, Tancoo and Bodoe also dismissed a social media post on Sunday which alleged there was a move within the party to removed UNC political leader as Opposition Leader.

The post claimed Moonilal, who is also a UNC deputy political leader, got the signatures of eight opposition MPs and six opposition senators on a letter to send to President Paula-Mae Weekes saying they had lost confidence in Persad-Bissessar as Opposition Leader.

Section 83 (4) of the Constitution states, “Where in the judgment of the President, the Leader of the Opposition is no longer the member of the House of Representatives best able to command the support of a majority of those members of the House of Representatives who do not support the Government, the President shall revoke the appointment of the Leader of the Opposition.”

The Opposition has 19 MPs in the House of Representatives. At least ten of them would have to express their non-support for Persad-Bissessar in writing to the President for her appointment as Opposition Leader to be revoked.

Persad-Bissessar was amongst a majority of Opposition UNC MPs in 2010 who signed a letter to then President George Maxwell Richards, declaring they no longer supported then Couva North MP Basdeo Panday as Opposition Leader.