Chairman of the United National Congress (UNC) Dr David Lee yesterday described as “absurd” claims by leadership contender Vasant Bharath that the party would not win a general election if it were called now.
“I take issue with statements attributed to Mr Bharath,” Lee said in a statement.
Lee said Bharath has neither been active in any of the party’s arms or committees nor participated in any activities “since his resounding defeat in the 2015 leadership election.”
He added, “Mr Bharath, therefore, is not acquainted with the party’s activities over the past two years, and is in no position to comment on our state of readiness for a poll.” The UNC’s internal election is expected to be held on November 26.
Bharath is challenging incumbent leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who received an overwhelming mandate in the 2015 internal election.
In a Sunday Newsday interview, Bharath claimed the party had “almost retracted itself into its support base.
“Because if an election were called today, despite how bad things are in the country, I don’t think that the UNC is properly positioned to win the election,” he said then. Bharath said the party also had not done extensive work along the East-West Corridor, which has historically supported the ruling People’s National Movement. But Lee said under Persad-Bissessar’s leadership, the UNC has continued to develop its policy proposals, vision and plan to take TT out of the crisis.
“We remain focused on our goals and objectives, and will not be distracted by any persons attempting to speak on matters of which they have no knowledge, and who do not have the best interests of the UNC at heart.” Lee said the UNC was ready to continue the work it started – serving the people.
“As stated by our political leader, the UNC team is ready to continue the work we started, and serve the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” he said. “All persons interested in building a better nation are invited to join with us as we move to return good governance to our country.”
Contacted for comment, Bharath told Newsday he did not want to get into any “tit-for-tat” with any party official. “All I said, through that article, were the sentiments expressed by several party activists and supporters across the country about the activities of the party over the last two years,” he said. “I was really voicing those concerns I have been hearing consistently in heartland constituencies and across the East-West Corridor.”