Making the right choice for party and country

Basdeo Panday, Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj
Basdeo Panday, Kamla Persad-Bissessar & Ramesh Maharaj

By Tony Fraser
December 16, 2009

Ramesh Maharaj is correct in saying that the outcome of the January internal elections of the United National Congress (UNC) will determine the future political prospects of the party. Indeed, to take that projection further along the road of rep-resentative politics, the out come will also determine the short-term political landscape of T&T. It is clear that if the UNC membership returns Basdeo Panday as its political leader, the party will be doomed to opposition. Moreover the UNC, as now configured, is sure to receive an ever-declining share of the number of votes and seats in the local and general elections up ahead.

Even before Panday’s legal difficulties and his thrashing in the last general election of 2007—both by the PNM and Dookeran’s Congress of the People, that party having been able to steal 148,000 votes from under Panday’s nose (and the qualification is made that not all the 148,000 came from the UNC base)—it was difficult for large clusters of voters from outside the UNC belt to support him as a national leader. That difficulty has been compounded since being tarnished by several yet-to-be-satisfactorily answered actions taken by Panday when he was Prime Minister.
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8 thoughts on “Making the right choice for party and country”

  1. I doubt that the COP supporters would like the idea of joining with a party lead by Ramesh and panday is out of the question. Just recently, Ramesh on the RamjackG platform, declared that he will never leave the UNC. Normally, there would be nothing wrong with saying this but he seemed to direct it to the COP, in a most vindictive manner(not nearly as vindictive as panday). Kamla, however, has been more reserved when it comes to speaking with and about the COP.
    It is high time the UNC stopped trying to recover the support they lost to this party and start working on a unified opposition. The PNM has lost support and they can only win another election if the UNC and COP remain separate entities. But what will we expect from them?
    The COP has the greatest manifesto that this country has ever seen. They not only say what they will do but also include a strategy for achieving each objective. Unfortunately, a manifesto is not a legally binding document(the incumbent is living proof) and the survival of this party depends on restoring the trust that others have taken away.

  2. Ramesh puzzled by PNM, COP congrats for Kamla
    Suggesting that the ‘congratulations’ offered to opponent in the United National Congress elections Kamla Persad-Bissessar by People’s National Movement and Congress of the People officials was strange, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj said last night…

    Jack sides with Kamla
    …warns her about ‘ugly fight’

    Ramesh fine with Jack backing Kamla
    TABAQUITE MP Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj said he has no problem with Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner openly supporting Siparia MP Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s bid to unseat Basdeo Panday as UNC political leader.

    …Bharath: Warner a jumping jack

    …TT’s now exciting politics
    I must say I feel quite elated by the prospect of Siparia MP, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, running for the leadership of the UNC. At last, we can perceive a chink that could turn into a wide gap in the wall of the solid, apparently fixed, national political landscape. Up and down the country you can hear the intake of breath and the loud sigh of relief that her throwing her hat into the ring has occasioned.

    Ramnath: Smooth sailing for January polls
    An updated preliminary UNC membership list will be prepared by December 24 and constituencies will have until January 6 to lodge objections, Kelvin Ramnath, chairman of the party’s membership committee said yesterday.

  3. The political party of the UNC is at critical crossroad , one can agree. Likewise , it’s position as a serious political contender , and major treat to the present government is about to be tested, but hopefully they’ll get it right at the appropriate time, as the Baliziea Party and Commander in Chief are seeing blood as it were ,and like Icacas hungry sharks will not be afraid to zero in for the kill.
    Perhaps the easiest job in the world today is that of a political consultant/ strategist for the PNM, as they could hold on the tried and true dictum of “if it ain’t broke ,don’t fix it.” All they need to do is simply show up , as the UNC and it’s confused hierarchy seems content to shoot themselves in the foot , at every opportunity. Panday says I will be the head honcho until I die and have no plans to hand over my party to ungrateful , greedy vultures that lurks. I alone can beat the PNM ,so he demands lifetime loyalty by saying , “just give me a discipline team.” His lawyer Ramesh, counteracted that by saying , Panday has too much baggage , lacks credibility as a result ,and is useful fodder for the PNM attacks hounds in and out of Parliament. I can move the party and the country forward, and by the way – to hell with Dookeran and the COP traitors he murmurs. By the way , he let slipped ,I will be a UNC until I die.We’ll quote him as a reminder once the election is over, and he is about to cross the floor.
    As for Kamla Persad- Bissessar? Her mantra might be ,I am a woman , and since we rule with our hearts , I am much better for pushing the interest of the maligned , oppressed , and neglected across our nation. I could hear her saying , should I run into problems if elected , I will just take a page from historical female political luminaries such as Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto , Bangladesh’s Sheikh Hasina Wajed ,and Khaleda Zia,India’s Indira Gandhi, Phillipine’s Corazon Aquino , and Arroyo, Sri Lanka’s mother/daughter tag team Sirimavo Bandaranaike ,and Kumaratunga , and Megawati Sukarnoputri of Indonesia.
    If for some reason enough inspiration cannot be derived from such excellent sources of great stewardship, then there is the original Iron Lady of Dominica , Dame Euguenia Charles , Churchill’s latter day historical rival, Lady Thatcher of Britannia, and neighboring Guyana’s Janet Jagan. Neverthe less , apart from her fervent pro Privy Council anti CCJ stand , I can see myself casting a vote of this courageous patriot , as I believe that her heart is in the right place, and might be the antidote that our country needs right now ,after being shackled by a bunch of neo colonial male leaders since 1962.Perhaps she can survive the nepotistic head guru himself Panday ,and caring , trustworthy ,one time Human Rights activist Maraj’s onslaughts that are sure to proceed and follow any possible victory come January 2010.
    This convoluted situation afflicting the UNC kind of reminds one of the West Indies cricket team today devoid of one time previous giants such as Alvin Kalicharan , Rohan Khanhi, Lance Murray, little Gus Logi , Larry Gomes ,and Hall of Famer Clive Lloyd at the helm.
    What those guys had in common, was the ability to step off the grand stage when their best playing days were behind them, and understood their limitations where necessary.
    In the best interest of our nation , let’s wish the UNC, COP , another future sensible alliance or prudent coalition , the best, as political monopoly as played out presently ,can be a dangerous state to be in.
    Nobody would really loose much sleep if the WI team never win another test match, or one day series ever again , even if the game was played against a team made up of Russian Siberian monkeys, or Chinese Panda bears, but PNM in power until the year 2075? That as my wise Grand mother would often say is’a horse of a different color,’ or put differently, a bitter pill to swallow. Again , I wish them well.

  4. Ramesh: Forces want me, Panday out
    A new row is brewing between different factions of the UNC as the tempo heats up in the run up to internal elections on January 24.

    Ready for war: Panday gets clean bill of health

    Doctors give Bas all clear
    UNC political leader Basdeo Panday, who left the country on December 13, has been given the all clear by his doctors after a medical check-up in England, UNC vice-chairman Vasant Bharat said yesterday.

    Last call for UNC members
    Today is the last day for persons to apply for membership in the UNC and for members to update their registration as a list of persons eligible to vote in next month’s internal elections will be circulated to all 41 constituencies on January 2.

    The odd couple
    THERE certainly seems to be a tide of support in favour of Siparia MP Kamla Persad-Bissessar in the few days since she has announced her candidacy to lead the UNC, in a three-way contest with UNC leader Basdeo Panday and Tabaquite MP Ramesh Maharaj.

    From Ramjack-G to Kamjack-G

  5. I think it is time for the Honourable Basdeo Panday to honorably step down and allow younger blood to take over the reins of the UNC. He has made a very valuable contribution to governmnet and politics in Trinidad and Tobago and I think he should bow out gracefully and enjoy his retirement. I have followed his career for most of my life and I know he is a man of guts and intellect who stood up to the injustices of the system and prevailed. He also fought for poor people. I met him personally years ago, as well as PM ANR Robinson, President Noor Hassanali and Mr Winston Dookeran and others.

    Uncle Bas, you have done your part, you have passed on your knowledge and skills to others and we are greatful for all that you have done. You have educated a nation and inspired a people. You served as Leader of the Opposition for many years and Prime Minister, the first Indo-trinidadian to hold that office. I became interested in politics because of people like you and Raffique Shah, and may one day soon throw my hat in the ring. I visted the Trinidad Parliament on many occesions to see the process of government in action.

    You are a hero and a national treasure, but there comes a time when Generals have to retire and pass on the “struggle” to those they have trained to succeed them. It is time for T&T to unite and deal with the problems that face the nation; uncontrolled crime, unemployment, poverty, literacy, teenage pregnancy, incest, race relations, education and social services just to mention a few. United we stand, divided we fall.

    May God bless you Uncle Bas and may God bless Trinidad and Tobago.

  6. The same can probably be said of leaders in the PNM. It is a shame that a tiny nation of just one million people cannot get together and unite for betterment of a country. We are still suffering from the colonial hangover with Indians and Africans at each other’s throats. That is what the colonial masters designed to keep us controlled.

    No Nobel Peace Prize for T&T, but may the award for being the crime capital of the world. As the calypsonians said, “We like it so”, “All a we thief.”

  7. Don’t worry Ali, we are observing how the big boys in Canada , and England do it . The Irish ,English Welsh and Scots have been at each other for centuries, so have Anglophones and Francophones in Canada. Mafias have controlled Italy’s crazy politics and culture since 1769 when Napoleon was no longer an Italian, but became a Frenchman. Give us time my friend, no body asked for this nonsense in T&T , it is just the tail end of colonial divide and rule lasting legacy.

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