Patriots, Star slates optimistic during UNC natex voting

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Voters wait in line at Hillview College during the UNC’s national executive (natex) election on Saturday. – AYANNA KINSALE

OPTIMISM for a favourable outcome in UNC’s internal elections was expressed early on June 15, by representatives of the United Patriots and Star slates which are contesting 17 positions on the party’s national executive (natex) which are up for grabs.

The only post not being contested is that of political leader.

An election for this post, currently held by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, be held next year.

Chaguanas West MP Dinesh Rambally, who is aligned with the United Patriots slate led by Mayaro MP Rushton Paray, felt enthused to be going into the these elections.

“I must commend MPs Rushton Paray, Anita Haynes-Alleyne, Rai Ragbir, and the members of the United Patriots Slate. I give high commendations to my senior colleague MP Rodney Charles. They are all worthy of reverence for the stance which they have taken to make a stronger UNC and a stronger TT.”

At a news conference in Couva on March 20, Paray made a public call for internal elections constitutionally due to be held in June, to take place.

Paray warned that if this was not done, it would weaken the UNC’s chances of victory in next year’s general election.

Haynes-Alleyne, Rambally, Ragbir and Charles subsequently supported this call.

They have been publicly accused by Persad-Bissessar and members of the Star slate of trying to undermine the party ahead of the general election.

Rambally, who voted at the Santa Cruz Presbyterian School around 9 am, said 11 people voted at that time in that polling station.

Rambally was confident the Patriots would do well in the elections.

“I have seen the commencement of a peoples’ struggle which demands that politics return to a politics for the people, not the politicians. A politics which is grounded in principles and morality.”

He said, “This struggle is one which focuses on the people and not the self serving interests of a few politicians. The struggle is for competent people of integrity to take the reins of leadership for betterment of our country, putting its peoples first at all times.”

Rambally added, “This struggle will surely continue until we are certain that our youth of the nation, the poorest of the poor, our women and farmers achieve a safe and decent standard of living; where everyone can have access to prosperity through their hard work.”

Asked about any problems with voting, Rambally said, “There are reports of irregularities with names on lists, reports of canvassing on compounds by agents of the Star team as well as reports and videos showing that individuals associated with candidates of the Star team are harassing and in some instances bullying persons at mock stations.”

He added,”Other than this , I have observed members attending to vote. As at noon, there seems to be a fair flow of members turning out.”

Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee, who is standing for re-election as a UNC deputy political leader on the Star slate, voted in his constituency.

He was confident of a Star victory.

“The stars are aligning as each hour passes.”

THE competing slates in the UNC internal elections

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

Rushton Paray, Anita Haynes-Alleyne and Dr Rai Ragbir: deputy political leaders

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