A new Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress will re­turn stal­warts who’ve been alien­at­ed from the par­ty and will have a com­mit­tee of el­ders com­pris­ing for­mer MPs, says lead­er­ship con­tender Vas­ant Bharath.

He al­so of­fered those plans while deem­ing the Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar lead­er­ship a fail­ure – in­clud­ing on the re­cent An­ti-Gang de­bate in Par­lia­ment

Speak­ing at a meet­ing last night, Bharath added, “To the cur­rent lead­er­ship, I say the en­tire na­tion is look­ing on. If you can­not man­age your par­ty’s af­fairs and its de­mo­c­ra­t­ic in­ter­nal elec­tion with ho­n­our and prin­ci­ple, how could the coun­try ex­pect you to pro­vide dis­tin­guished, com­pe­tent and fair na­tion­al lead­er­ship?”

Bharath lament­ed T&T’s state un­der the Peo­ple’s Na­tion­al Move­ment but said the UNC of­fered no hope ei­ther.

“We meet at a time when T&T’s in in­ter­na­tion­al head­lines for all the wrong rea­sons, be­cause of a hor­ri­ble mi­gra­tion cri­sis in­flict­ed up­on us by the in­com­pe­tent, un­car­ing Row­ley regime,” Bharath said.

“We’re here when more peo­ple are falling vic­tims of gory crimes, more job­less work­ers have no food and flash floods af­fect house­holds. … when corpses are falling out of a hearse and a new­born is dumped, but zessers are par­ty­ing like no­body’s busi­ness – and chil­dren are be­ing de­port­ed against the law.”

List­ing oth­er prob­lems, Bharath added, “And if that’s the state of the re-elect­ed Gov­ern­ment, the par­lia­men­tary Op­po­si­tion of­fers no bet­ter hope. But we shouldn’t be sur­prised – in re­cent gen­er­al elec­tions the UNC lead­er­ship was un­able to top­ple the weak­est most in­com­pe­tent PNM regime in T&T’s his­to­ry.”

Bharath said in T&T’s eco­nom­ic and oth­er dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances, there’s need for an Op­po­si­tion that could mo­bilise the na­tion in peo­ple’s in­ter­est, the way UNC founder Bas­deo Pan­day had ral­lied work­ers.

He said in the Par­lia­ment, the UNC had bun­gled any ef­fort at na­tion­al in­ter­est in ab­stain­ing from sup­port­ing the An­ti-Gang bill

“For days, the Op­po­si­tion Leader said she’d sup­port the amend­ment if Gov­ern­ment guar­an­teed bring­ing pro­cure­ment leg­is­la­tion. But in Par­lia­ment, she and her mer­ry band of hem­line devo­tees ab­stained,” he said.

“Things got more bizarre, when an Op­po­si­tion sen­a­tor bit­ter­ly at­tacked the Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er. Clear­ly, he had the leader’s tac­it sup­port be­cause she didn’t in­ter­vene.

“In it all, the Op­po­si­tion con­tin­ued speak­ing from both sides of its mouth, lead­ing to wide­spread con­dem­na­tion from na­tion­al stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing busi­ness­es. The mis­han­dling of this vi­tal is­sue is an as­sault on com­mon sense and a glar­ing ex­am­ple of the hap­haz­ard, dys­func­tion­al state of T&T’s so-called al­ter­na­tive gov­ern­ment. This is the re­sult of ab­sen­tee lead­er­ship.”

Bharath said the in­fan­tile ap­proach to na­tion­al busi­ness is seen in sev­er­al new MPs.

“One brash im­ma­ture mem­ber has been nasty to mem­bers sim­ply be­cause they sup­port my slate. One per­son who had his own par­ty and once de­mand­ed the leader’s res­ig­na­tion over Sec­tion 34 is now vi­cious­ly at­tack­ing mem­bers.”

His plans in­clude hav­ing a team to han­dle al­liances/uni­ty with oth­ers. He said there would al­so be a probe on why UNC lost elec­tions, a par­ty school would be es­tab­lished and head­quar­ters would be sought. Robert Ram­samooj will head the re­build­ing com­mit­tee.

Bharath said ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties his team cit­ed in the elec­tion haven’t been ad­dressed and while mem­bers were get­ting texts and phone calls from the oth­er team, the elec­toral list his team re­ceived had no phone num­bers.

PNM uni­fy­ing UNC di­vid­ing

Deputy UNC leader can­di­date Joe Pires said the PNM brought in Pen­ny Beck­les and Bri­an Man­ning and was cre­at­ing uni­ty while UNC was di­vid­ing.

He not­ed that Abra­ham Lin­coln said he’d de­stroyed his en­e­mies by mak­ing friends.

“It’s time to make friends in our par­ty and unite,” Pires said.

Elec­tions of­fi­cer can­di­date Kami­ni Ram­raj said the in­cum­bent leader’s way has failed and if UNC want­ed to see gov­ern­ment again, mem­bers have to leave the “safe­ty” of Op­po­si­tion. She said the elec­tion wasn’t about Bharath or the leader but whether UNC will stop be­ing ir­rel­e­vant.

Deputy chair­man can­di­date Her­shael Rame­sar said the team’s pro­pos­als in­clud­ed hav­ing a con­gress af­ter the elec­tion, where a mo­tion for uni­ty would be aired and mem­bers would be the ones to de­cide who the UNC should unite with. He said he loved UNC’s leader but, “the hard­est part of true love is know­ing at some point one has to let go.”

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