By CLINT CHAN TACK Friday, May 18 2012
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DAVID UNSURE: A section of a whole-page ad showing the leaders of five parties comprising the People's Partnership coalition government who are suppos...
MOVEMENT for Social Justice (MSJ) political leader David Abdulah yesterday described as “inappropriate” plans for the People’s Partnership (PP) coalition to hold a grand celebratory rally to mark its second anniversary in office, “when there are so many crucial issues facing the country.”
In a statement, Abdulah said he informed all coalition leaders including Prime Minister and UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar at their last heads meeting that, “it was inappropriate for the Partnership to have a celebratory rally at a time when there are so many crucial issues facing the country.”
Abdulah said that in a media report on May 14, he indicated, “Government needs to focus on the key issues affecting the people and that is more important than a celebratory type rally.” Saying the MSJ has not committed to attending next Thursday’s rally at Mid-Centre Mall in Chaguanas he noted his face has been included in newspaper advertisements on the rally.
Abdulah said the MSJ will decide whether or not it will attend the rally, “only after the party’s activist council meets within the next several days.”
Abdulah may not be the only leader whose attendance at the rally is doubtful. Newsday was reliably informed that COP political leader and Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar is suffering from a throat ailment which makes it difficult for him to speak.
Ramadhar as head of the COP, is listed as one of the speakers at next week’s rally along with Abdulah (MSJ), Ashworth Jack (TOP) and NJAC leader Makandal Daaga. Persad-Bissessar will deliver the feature address.
Asked yesterday at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair, to comment about Abdulah’s stance regarding the rally, Rambachan said, “My understanding is that as of this morning, David Abdulah has committed to being a speaker and contributor to that meeting taking place to celebrate the second year achievements of the PP Government.”
Told that trade unions which are members of the MSJ have openly supported striking workers at Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) and persons protesting the extension of the Solomon Hochoy Highway, Rambachan said this does mean there is division within the Partnership.
“The Government is not in conflict with anyone. The Government does not go out there to have conflict with anyone,” he declared.
Questioned about the reported defection of most of the executive of the COP held Lopinot/Bon Air West constituency to the UNC, Rambachan — one of three UNC deputy political leaders — said none of the seven defectors have as yet been accepted by the UNC. He could not determine whether they would be.
“One of the things you must respect in this country is the right of freedom of association,” Rambachan said adding that there is no plot by the UNC to undermine any of the coalition partners (COP, MSJ, TOP and NJAC).
Asked whether the defection was part of a master plan by the UNC to control the COP’s six constituencies (San Fernando West, St Augustine, Lopinot/Bon Air West, Tunapuna, Arima and D’Abadie/O’Meara), Rambachan replied, “I want to assure you there is no such plan or plot to do anything like that. Nothing is going to be done by any member of the UNC to undermine the solid relationship that exists and has been growing between the Partnership members.”
Asked to give her thoughts on the defection issue, COP San Fernando West MP and Public Administration Minister Carolyn Seepersad Bachan said, “This is a post-Cabinet (conference) and I thought we wanted to deal with the matters of Cabinet.”
When no other questions were asked of her by reporters, Seepersad-Bachan got up and left before the briefing ended.