Panday tells supporters:
'Winston and I will unite the UNC'
By HERMAN ROOP DASS, newsday.co.tt
IN HIS first public meeting since signing nomination papers for the upcoming October 2 UNC internal executive elections, political leader of the Opposition party, Basdeo Panday, told a gathering on Monday that his job as future chairman of the party was to work with future Political Leader Winston Dookeran, to unite the party.
"I as chairman and the Political Leader Winston Dookeran will unite the party as a new philosophy will be our thrust," Panday told supporters at a public forum in the Durham Village Hindu School in Charlieville.
He also made it clear that the UNC was not for sale. "My job is to unite the party and it does not mean who have more corn will feed more fowl. The UNC is not for sale, just remember that." He said his presence in the party was aimed at preventing the UNC "from being snatched away and sold to the highest bidder."
"We have years of experience in struggle and because of this, we must remain alive, strong and vibrant. Only this UNC can take back governance of the country as we did before," he told the crowd.
Enquiring why other political parties were bent on attacking the UNC and not the PNM, Panday called on these parties to "join us in the struggle" to put the country back on the road to peace and prosperity.
He also appealed to other groups who think they have a political base, to bring in a seat and to "join us in the battle for constitutional reform."
"If there is constitutional reform they may stand a chance of bringing in one or two seats and further join us in the fight against discrimination, corruption and injustice," Panday stated.
He stressed that "people were aiming their bullet-less guns and bow-less arrows at the UNC everyday, as if we are running the country. Maybe it is because we are a democratic party."
He claimed the PNM Government had spent $90 billion so far during its term in office and "they have nothing to show for it."
"No new schools, people still crying out for water to drink while floods continue to destroy their property and homes. How can people vote for the PNM under these conditions," Panday asked. "That is why the PNM will lose the next elections," he declared. "Political pundits are saying that nobody could be so stupid as to return the PNM to power, but you know race is a powerful thing."
Panday warned that persons who believed they were God's gift to the world both intellectually and politically, "will soon be taught the realities of politics." He said some persons believed that writing a newspaper column gave them the right to believe they have all the answers to form a political party.
"And if that were so, then Raffique Shah should form one, but then that was not necessary because he is already in the PNM," Panday cried.
He said armchair politicians and university lecturers pontificated from on high as if they knew all the answers, but he challenged: let us see how good they are on the field. "Watch those people who want to lead you, as man goes crazy when they taste power or even smell power," he said.
He said nominees on his slate of candidates for the UNC internal elections would not be spiteful "because if we want to run the party, we must set the example. Remember, we got over 307,000 votes in the 2000 elections. Which party ever did that?"
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