Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) political leader David Abdulah says the party is gearing up for the country’s next general election, constitutionally due in 2020.
However, he said the jury was still out on whether the party would contest seats in all 41 constituencies.
“That will be determined when we get closer to the election date,” he told reporters yesterday during a news conference at the Transport and Industrial Workers Union headquarters, Eastern Main Road, Laventille.
“That is about our election strategy which will come closer to the election date but certainly we cannot have a situation where citizens of this country have no real alternative when they go into the polling booths.”
In the meantime, Abdulah said the party was preparing for its national executive election on November 19 at which some 12 positions, including political leader and chairman, were up for grabs.
Abdulah, who was flanked by the MSJ’s outgoing chairman Gregory Fernandez and general secretary Ozzi Warwick, said he would seek to retain his position as political leader.
Nomination Day is Friday.
Alluding to the confusion surrounding the United National Congress’ leadership election scheduled for November 26, Abdulah assured the MSJ’s election would be devoid of controversy.
“We have no bacchanal or confusion within the MSJ. We don’t have a situation where the leaders are elected for three-year term and other officers for two-year terms. And then the leaders wants to bring forward the election to have to justify it.”
He said the party’s internal election would be presided over by a committee comprising attorney Lennox Sankersingh and veteran trade union officers Cassandra Tommy and Gregory Marchan.
Asked about the MSJ’s expectations in seeking to contest the 2020 general election, Abdulah said: “Our expectations are that the people of this country, their consciousness is growing and that people want a change.
“They want a real alternative and our responsibility now is to build the MSJ and offer them that alternative so that we can make real change when we come to 2020.”
He made it clear the MSJ was not about contesting the election “simply to put another name on the ballot.”
“If this country does not have real change in 2020, think of where we will be in 2025?”
Asked to put the MSJ’s general election bid in the context of it being seen as a third party in the race, Abdulah said, “We don’t see ourselves as a third party in that sense because the PNM and the UNC are flip sides of the same coin. In terms of policies and running the system, they do exactly the same thing.”
He added, “The status quo remains in tact. The elite that control and benefit from the resources of this country remain in tact whether we have PNM or UNC. The people who suffer as a result of that are ordinary people. And that is the message that we are hearing when we walk the communities– when we go to Acono, Mt D’Or, Diego Martin, Arima, Point Fortin or other parts of the country. The message is that they changed parties but life has not changed.”
Abdulah said their general election campaign would be financed mainly through “grassroots support.”
“We are never going to be on the same playing field (as the PNM or UNC).”