Rodney Charles bowing out of politics

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Naparima MP Rodney Charles

NAPARIMA MP Rodney Charles will not be contesting the next general election.

He made this announcement on Thursday against the background of Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s call for nominations for UNC general election candidates last month.

In a statement, Charles said, “I wish to indicate that I will not be submitting nomination papers to contest the 2025 general election. As such, my active political career will end in 2025.”

He said he had previously indicated a desire to exit politics and pass the baton to a younger generation.

“I will be 76 in 2025, and the time has come for my generation to make way for younger politicians to assume the reins of leadership.”

He thanked Persad-Bissessar for the opportunity to serve as an opposition MP since September 2015.

Charles said he remains a UNC member and will continue to serve the party after he exits active politics.

He said he was proud of his roles as MP, former UN ambassador and National Petroleum retail manager during his stint in public life.

Charles called on the Prime Minister, as another senior parliamentarian, not to contest the next general election and usher in a new era of politics.

“We must discard once and for all the notion that one has to leave TT politics either in ignominy or in a casket.”

When the PNM won the general election in August 2020, Dr Rowley hinted at possible political retirement then.

Rowley has not officially confirmed whether or not he will contest next year’s election.

Speaking at a UNC public meeting in Couva on November 21, Persad-Bissessar said the UNC will contest all 41 constituencies in 2025.

She gave no hint as to how many of the UNC’s 19 incumbent MPs would be standing for re-election in 2025.

UNC officials said they had no information on anyone submitting their names to be considered as general election candidates as yet.

The UNC has only contested the 39 constituencies in Trinidad but not the two Tobago constituencies in general elections.

On Monday, National Transformation Alliance (NTA) Gary Griffith said the party’s preparations for the next general election are moving apace.

He said the NTA’s preparations are being made alongside those of its political partner, the Opposition UNC.

The NTA and UNC fought the local government elections in August as a coalition, contesting 31 and 110 districts, respectively. Under that arrangement, neither party fielded candidates in the same district.

Griffith and Persad-Bissessar said after those elections, the NTA-UNC coalition would continue.

Sources said closer to the election, the parties will decide which constituencies they will contest. The strategy will be the same as for the local government elections, with only one of the two parties fielding a candidate in any given constituency.