Tancoo: UNC 2020 UNC internal elections not ‘rigged’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Dave Tancoo –

UNC chairman Dave Tancoo has rejected claims by former Barataria/San Juan MP Dr Fuad Khan that the last party internal elections, on December 6, 2020, were rigged.

Khan made the claims in a radio interview on Monday.

He said there were two voter/members lists. One only listed the names of UNC members, while the other had their full contact information. Khan claimd the full infomation on UNC members was available to only “one or two people.”

Tancoo, who is also Oropouche West MP, said, “I was a candidate in that election and had the same list that was provided to all candidates including those Mr Khan endorsed.”

Tancoo was elected chairman on August 6, 2020 as a member of Persad-Bissessar’s “Star” slate.

Khan is challenging Persad-Bissessar for the UNC’s leadership in the party’s internal elections on June 26. Tancoo is unopposed for chairman in those elections.

Tancoo said, “I find it very disappointing that people seeking to lead continue to malign the party and the very members they want to lead and to vote for them, and then when they don’t get the vote, they make these claims.”

Recalling the UNC was the first political party to hold its internal elections by a one man-one-vote system in 1995, Tancoo said, “I am.proud to say that the UNC is a highly democratic party and we were practising one-man-one-vote when the other political party was still using a delegate system.”

He was confident that democracy is alive and well in the party.

“People look at their options and decide.”

Should the challengers for party posts be unsuccessful in convincing the membership to vote for them, he said, this should cause some introspection.

“The UNC membership are intelligent and well informed. I am comforted in the knowledge that they will vote for proven leadership that has held and continues to hold the Government to account.”

He was also confident the June 26 elections would be free and fair.

“There is an elections management team which conducts the election and with whom candidates can interact on a continuous basis. Candidates are provided with a detailed elections manual which also guides their conduct.”

Former People’s Partnership (PP) government minister Devant Maharaj, who unsuccessfully challenged Persad-Bissessar for the UNC leadership in 2020, described the June 26 elections as a sham.

On May 22, Maharaj said, “The announcement by the UNC political leader for life, Kamla Persad Bissessar, of an internal election is another nail in the coffin of the UNC as it, yet again, violates the UNC Constitution.”

According to the party’s constitution, he said, the post of political leader and the national executive must be considered separately.

“Only a constitutional amendment via a national assembly could sanction such a change and not a parliamentary arm meeting which is what was held on Saturday (May 21).”

Maharaj claimed the continued “perversion” of the UNC’s constitution would only ensure the PNM remains in office for at least another decade.