PORT of SPAIN: Former
St Augustine MP Vasant Bharath said he remains willing to help the UNC.
But he added that three weeks since
the party’s internal elections were held on December 7, neither UNC political
leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar nor any member of the party’s national executive
(natex) has spoken to him about how he could best serve the party.
Persad-Bissessar was re-elected UNC
leader on December 7, when her Star Team made a clean sweep over Bharath’s
Lotus Team in all posts in the party’s executive. She called for healing within
the party and said there would be a role for all who contested the elections,
in the UNC’s bid to return to government.
Bharath recalled that on December 7
he “implored Mrs Bissessar to embrace and integrate all party supporters
and sympathisers in the organisational restructuring of the party.” He
reiterated that the campaign showed there was great apathy among UNC members
and this was evident from a very low voter turnout.
Bharath said there are no functioning
party groups or effective constituency executives and many of the UNC’s
constitutional organs are nonexistent. He added that party members have no
forums in which to express their opinions and his team identified widespread
irregularities during the campaign which have not been addressed.
While saying this does not augur
well for restoring trust in the UNC or instilling confidence that the party is
ready for governance, Bharath said, ” I remain a committed lifetime member
of the UNC and will continue to offer to assist the party in the necessary
rebuilding and restructuring that is certainly required if it is to be taken
seriously as a national party.”
He added that young people must be
encouraged to participate in the UNC in a meaningful way, party groups and
constituency executives must be empowered and the party must be expanded beyond
Asked if there has been no
communication with Persad-Bissessar or any natex member about his role in
helping the party or addressing the concerns his team raised, Bharath replied,
UNC deputy leader David Lee also
said he was unaware of any such communication with Bharath.
Party chairman Dave Tancoo said the
UNC has other priorities at this time.
“The party is on election mode.
Real activists and UNC members are on the ground.”
The UNC and the PNM will face off in
five local government by-elections on January 25 in Arima Central, Cunupia,
Hindustan/St Mary’s, Hollywood and Morne Coco/Alyce Glen. These districts fall
under the Arima, Chaguanas and Point Fortin boroughs, and Princes Town and
Diego Martin regional corporations.
In a December 9 letter to President
Paula-Mae Weekes, the Prime Minister advised that by-elections should be held
in these districts after their former representatives – Lisa Morris-Julian,
Symon de Nobriga, Kennedy Richards Jr, Vandana Mohit and Michelle Benjamin –
had been elected MPs.
Both parties have already selected
their candidates. Nomination Day is January 4.