UNC National Executive’s term ends June 26

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Peter Kanhai
Photo source: unctt.org

UNC chairman Peter Kanhai said on Wednesday that the term of the UNC’s current national executive will expire next month.

Five UNC MPs have called for elections to be held, a call first voiced by Mayaro MP Rushton Paray.

However UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has simply told reporters they would be held when they are due under the party’s constitution but without stating any date.

Kanhai, in a UNC team which met Chief Elections Officer Fern Narcis-Scope at the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) in Port of Spain, spoke to reporters afterwards.

When questioned, he said, “I will repeat what the political leader has said, that the party will hold internal elections when it is constitutionally due.”

A reporter pressed for a more exact answer.

Kanhai said, “We will make the announcement.

“If you go back all the way to 2010 you will see that the internal elections have been held when they were constitutionally due, the most recent being in 2022.”

Pressing, a reporter said Persad-Bissessar had advised reporters to ask the national executive when the elections would be held.

Kanhai said, “Let me put it this way: The current national executive’s term of office runs until June 26.

“Therefore the elections will be called within the time frame that is permitted and provided for in the (UNC) constitution.

“The track record has shown, since 2010 right up to now, that those elections have in fact been called and held when they were due.”

He saw no reason to question if the party would now deviate from that.

“There has been no announcement by the leadership of the UNC to the contrary.”

UNC deputy chairman Khadijah Ameen said, “The UNC is governed by a constitution and the UNC will abide by its constitution. No date has been set for the election as yet. It is not yet due. It will be announced in due course, once the national executive takes a decision.

“There is a procedure. There are clear provisions in the constitution and we will continue to abide by that.”

Ameen said there was a bigger picture – that people continue to face increased hardships and more crime.

“The issue of this Government and the next general election is also a very critical issue.

“I don’t know how many people know or care who is on the national executive of the UNC.”

Ameen said people know and care who is the Government, who is bringing the property tax, who is failing to curb crime and who ids responsible for joblessness.

“Those are the issues people are more concerned with.”

She said she remained committed to democracy within the party and the country, and lifting citizens’ lives. “We will keep you posted as we go along.”

A reporter asked if UNC MPs could keep it together until the general election.

Ameen said, “I am wondering if TT could keep it together. I am wondering how families could keep it together because they are literally unable to put food on their table.

“I am wondering if we as a country could keep it together in terms of being safe. There are people fleeing the country.

“There are people suffering serious mental illness, breakdowns, because they are living in fear of murder and death, of being robbed.

“People who have to take public transport are scared to travel. They are being robbed literally in the morning while they are waiting for a maxi on the bus route.”

Asked if voters could have faith in the UNC which has five dissenting MPs, she urged them to vote on the UNC’s governance record including free laptops for schoolchildren.