Persad-Bissessar not hurt, surprised by Sankar ‘crossing the floor’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar. FILE PHOTO –

Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar isn’t hurt, nor is she surprised over UNC councillor for Kelly Village/Warrenville Samuel Sankar’s decision to move closer to the PNM.

Her comments came hours after Sankar was spotted at the PNM’s public political meeting in Chaguanas on Tuesday night, where he was warmly welcomed from the platform.

It is unclear whether or not he has cut ties with his party.

When contacted, Sankar said “My people come first,” before Newsday had a chance to ask the first question.

He seemed to be in high spirits as he explained that he was on the phone with his lawyers and said he would make an official statement on the subject soon.

But on his Facebook page he hinted at his dissatisfaction with the quality of leadership under the UNC. On Wednesday morning, without naming the opposition leader, Sankar posted, “If your leadership can’t be questioned, then you are a questionable leader.”

Sankar could not be reached for further comment that day.

His latest move was heavily criticised under his social media post by UNC supporters. Few came to Sankar’s defence, but many called him out as “Judas.”

Contacted for a comment, Persad-Bissessar told Newsday she wishes Sankar well.

“We live in a democracy, and each person is free to choose where they want to be, in which party they want to be. I wish him good luck in his new endeavours.”

Asked if he is still a member of the UNC, Persad-Bissessar said, “Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know – have to check.”

Did she plan to meet with Mr Sankar?

“Why should I meet with him? He has made a decision without meeting me, and I’ll repeat my point: I wish him good luck in his future endeavours.”

She added: “There’s a new election to be held. We will screen candidates and we make those decisions. There is a new local government election coming up. People put their nominations in. He may put it for the PNM; they will choose them or not. And we have others who will put in their nominations.

“I’m not surprised and I’m not shocked. In politics and politickings I’m never surprised. Remember, a few months ago he attended a meeting so he’s free. This is a democracy. He’s free to choose where he wants to be pleased.”

She was referring to a local government reform consultation held on August 9 by Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi, where Sankar defied her order to stay away from the event. He was the only UNC councillor present.

Since then, there had been speculation that he was planning to cut ties with the UNC.