Moments after declaring victory in the party’s internal election, re-elected UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said the journey to retake government from the PNM administration would begin in earnest in the new year with the formation of campaign teams.
Persad-Bissessar, who secured 20,328 votes as compared to her nearest rival Christine Newallo-Hosein, who got 114 votes, was addressing scores of supporters who crowded her Siparia constituency office at Penal junction on Sunday night.
In a clearly jubilant mood, she thanked the thousands of party members for exercising their democratic right to vote in the internal election in a peaceful manner, saying the past two years, despite the party’s not being in government, had “empowered” its membership to work harder.
“Tonight we have this victory. This is not the end. This is in fact the beginning of the journey to take us to return to government. So we have a task ahead and we can only do it united together,” she said. “Once we are united, we will win. The government has collapsed on itself, but that does not mean that we win – we will only win when we are united.”
As for her immediate plans, she said this would include her annual Christmas toy drive in her Siparia constituency while the new year would witness her drive to rebuild the party.
“Many people wanted to come on the team and the slate. I want to say this to you tonight: you are not left out. Early in the new year we will convene a meeting of all the persons who wanted to serve, because everyone cannot be an MP, everyone can’t be a Senator or a councillor. But we will place campaign teams to carry us on the journey forward. So all those who are willing, I am willing, ready and able,” she said.
In a Facebook post, the election management committee posted the preliminary results of the internal election:
Kamla Persad Bissessar: 20,328 votes
Christine Newallo-Hosein: 114
Chanda Bhaggan: 45
Maria M Rodriguez: 17,547
Dharia V Nelson-Seales: 299
Ravi Ratiram: 17,256
Krishna Bahadursingh: 558
Northwest Regional Co-ordinator
Eli Zakoor : 17,400
Brian G Stone : 434
Ralph Henry : 245
Northeast Regional Co-ordinator
Brian Baig : 17,058
Naidu Powdhar 1,088