AMIDST claims of a rigged polls, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is promising a free and fair June 26 internal party elections.
She said the United National Congress (UNC) is a democratic party and every member is eligible to contest, but there are rules which govern the election and must be followed to ensure free and fair elections.
“Don’t worry with people who say otherwise. We will have a free and fair election. We have an election management committee to ensure that, and we have rules and a manual.
“Everything is above board,” she told supporters at Barrackpore on Friday night as she introduced her slate of candidates.
Persad-Bissessar cautioned them not to take this election for granted and assume victory as dark forces are at work.
“Evil forces are out there so you good people come out and cast your votes and bring those who can help us to put the votes in.”
This election is not just about party leadership, she said, but the beginning of a journey to take the United National Congress (UNC) back into government.
She cautioned members not to be worried about their detractors, including one who wants phone numbers, e-mail addresses along with the membership list, in reference to demands by former Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial who is contesting one of the seats of deputy political leader.
“There are privacy laws in this country. We cannot put the names of the membership with their phone numbers, WhatsApp and e-mail. It’s against the law. Girl, go and listen and learn,” she said without naming Ramdial.
“And then we have another one talking about we will have one leader for the party and another leader for the Opposition in the Parliament,” in obvious reference to her only challenger for the post of political leader, Dr Fuad Khan.
“What nonsense. To be Leader of the Opposition, to become the prime minister, you have to be an MP.
“You want to lead our great party and you don’t even know the laws of the land.”
Shanti Boodram, who is seeking the post of South co-ordinator, said the party was united and stronger than ever.
Couva North MP Ravi Ratiram, contesting the party organiser position, said only with unity can they defeat the PNM. Councillor Krishna Persardsingh said it is time to stand together and push back against injustice and geographical discrimination.
Speaking out against those who were calling for Persad-Bissessar to go, councillor Doodnath Mayroo said the only place she was going was back to Whitehall and the Diplomatic Centre.
Contesting the post of treasurer, Neil Gosine said this election is a turning point not only for the party but the country, predicting victory for the UNC whenever general elections is called.
Endorsing Persad-Bissessar’s Star slate, Moruga/Tableland MP Michelle Benjamin said she was hurt that the people her leader loves the most are the ones who are questioning her strength.
Naparima MP Rodney Charles noted that under the Persad-Bissessar People’s Partnership administration, people were lining up to come to Trinidad.
“Under the Rowley government, thousands are lining up to leave TT,” in reference to those who braved sun and rain and slept on the pavement in order to apply for jobs on the Royal Caribbean cruise lines over three days last week.