Pundit assaulted in call for Kamla’s removal as UNC leader

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

UNC supporters square off with attorney Larry Lalla and Pundit Donny Samlal at the UNC’s national congress in Couva on Sunday. – Marvin Hamilton

PUNDIT Donny Samlal says he was assaulted by “thugs” supporting the United National Congress (UNC) as he attempted to get on stage where the party’s national congress at Couva on Sunday.

Samlal wanted to present a motion for the removal of Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar so it could be debated by the membership.

However, Samlal, who said he represented thousands of ex-Caroni workers, said he was blocked and bullied by supporters.

“This is a very disturbing aspect of our democracy.”

He said when Persad-Bissessar was elected to Government, “we supported her, we protested for her. We worshipped her. We love her, but we also believe she cannot take this country forward.

“People in this country are suffering, children are suffering. We need strong, ethical, young leaders to take us forward. They are suppressing our views. We need to be heard.”

Before he could continue his interview with the media at Couva Multi-Purpose Hall, two UNC members stepped in between Samlal and the media, preventing the interview.

“Kamla must stay. Kamla must stay. Kamla and nobody else,” the aggressors said.

Attorney Larry Lalla was forced to intervene and questioned why Samlal was being pushed and jostled.

Samlal said he sent the motion to the UNC’s general secretary Peter Kanhai for approval to have it debated at the congress, but got no response, so he showed up at the congress.

A motion by Ramdial and former MP Fuad Khan to bring back former UNC members into the fold of the party did not qualify for debate either.

A message from councillor Devika Thomas, forwarded to Newsday, attributed a quote from Persad-Bissessar who said she will not tolerate abuse of the UNC membership.