Ex-MPs respond after UNC rejects motion – Ramdial, Khan not surprised

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Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo: Former UNC MP Ramona Ramdial.

FORMER UNC MPs Ramona Ramdial and Dr Fuad Khan were not surprised by the party’s rejection of their motion in which they proposed ways to strengthen the party ahead of local government elections this year and the next general election in 2025.

The motion acknowledged the UNC’s failure to win any national election (general or local government) since it lost the September 7, 2015 general election.

The motion’s resolution called for UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the party’s national executive to approach, communicate with and bring former past executive and founding UNC members who have been politically inactive, to play a role in “the forward strategy of the party.”

The motion states, “Failure to develop such a plan within three months should result in a new internal election for the Natex without the position of political leader being contested.” This means Persad-Bissessar remains UNC leader for the foreseeable future.

Such an election, the motion continued, should be developed on the method used by American political parties, consisting of primaries (in which rival candidates will participate in debates), and general meetings held by the UNC throughout TT.

Ramdial and Khan hoped the motion would be read at the UNC’s congress in Couva on Sunday.

File photo: Dr Fuad Khan

But in a letter to Ramdial, UNC general secretary Peter Kanhai said the motion was rejected because Persad-Bissessar and the party’s leadership were already doing what was proposed in the motion.

Contacted for comment on the motion being rejected, Ramdial said, “Our motion was rejected because the current leadership is afraid of the dissenting voices from within.”

Ramdial said those voices were reflected by three unknown UNC parliamentarians who did not vote for the party’s presidential nominee Israel Khan, SC, in the Electoral College on January 20.

The college voted 48-22 in favour of former Senate president Christine Kangaloo to serve as TT’s seventh president.

The vote from the Opposition in support of Khan was 22, three short of the UNC’s full parliamentary membership in the House and Senate.

Ramdial said, “I speak for them (three dissenting UNC parliamentarians) and others. The silencing of our voices is a clear sign of dictatorship which the national electorate does not want.”

What transpired in the Electoral College, she continued, is symptomatic of the UNC’s entrenched poor performance in and out of Parliament over the last eight years.

For his part, Khan said the rejection reflects the party’s contentment to remain in opposition permanently.

“Like good sycophants they can’t see the merit in any innovative thought and their only mantra is ‘hail the Queen!’”

Khan said, “Most of those now making the decisions… not to allow free and fair discussions and internals were from the belly of the (now defunct ) NAR (National Alliance for Reconstruction).”

Former UNC senator Devant Maharaj agreed with Khan and Ramdial

“This fatalism and hopelessness of the UNC is why so many are choosing to join the PNM, bow out of politics, or just leave the country.”