Bad weather slows voting in UNC’s internal election



THE leadership of the UNC remained in the balance on Sunday night as bad weather slowed down voting in the party’s internal election.

Up to 8 pm, the counting of ballots was still in progress. UNC general secretary Peter Kanhai said the rain was the main challenge affecting voter turnout.

He had no idea what the turnout was, but was confident it would be healthy. Kanhai said there were no reports of voting irregularities at any polling station.

Preliminary results, according to Kanhai, could be received by 10 pm. He offered no comment about early trends.

Incumbent leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar had only one challenger in the elections, former UNC MP Dr Fuad Khan.

While sources remained confident Persad-Bissessar and her Star Team slate would make a clean sweep of the elections, there was no clear trend as to how the voting went.

One source said, “There was no competition.”

Earlier in the day, Khan and former UNC MP Ramona Ramdial (who contested the elections officer post against Star Team candidate Don Sylvester) said the voter turnout was very low across the board, including in UNC strongholds.

Khan’s campaign was based on a dual-leadership system with him as political leader and Persad-Bissessar as opposition leader, if he was victorious.

Khan, Ramdial and Dr Glenn Ramdharsingh (who contested the party organiser post) were the only independent candidates in the elections

The other candidates were members of Persad-Bissessar’s Star Team. Many of them were projected to win the post they were contesting.

A North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) survey on June 22, predicted a clean sweep for Persad-Bissessar and her slate. The survey also reported that interest in the internal election was low. According to NACTA, many UNC members, supporters and floating voters, did not believe Persad-Bissessar and her slate could sway the view that the UNC was an alternative government to the PNM.

The candidates

Political leader: Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Dr Fuad Khan

Chairman: Dave Tancoo

Deputy political leaders: Dr Roodal Moonilal, David Lee, Jearlean John

Vice-chairman: Khadijah Ameen

Education officer: Vandana Mohit

Research officer: Saddam Hosein

Elections officer: Don Sylvester, Ramona Ramdial

Party organiser: Ravi Ratiram, Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh

Treasurer: Neil Gosine

Tobago regional co-ordinator: Taharqa Obika

Policy and strategy co-ordinator: Sean Sobers

International relations officer: Wilfred Morris

South co-ordinator: Shanti Boodram

Central co-ordinator: Barry Padarath

Northwest co-ordinator: Eli Zakour

Northeast co-ordinator: Anil Roberts

With the exception of Khan, Ramdial and Ramadharsingh, all other candidates are members of the Star Team.

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