A big turnout at a Christmas bash hosted by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar proves her popularity, United National Congress (UNC) deputy leader David Lee told Newsday today.
Newsday had asked about Barataria/San Juan MP Dr Fuad Khan’s ongoing call for former prime minister Basdeo Panday and former minister Jack Warner to return to the UNC, a call perhaps echoed in Warner’s recent call for Panday to make a political comeback.
Lee said while Christmas Day is usually spent with one’s family members, many people flocked to Persad-Bissessar’s get-together, so proving her popularity. “I was with the political leader on Christmas night at her Christmas meeting. It showed true unity on Christmas night to have all those people there. The kind of support that was there signifies the unity the party has.”
Lee said Persad-Bissessar has always said all are welcome to come home to the UNC. “She has never divorced anyone.” However Lee said the party has only one leader, Persad-Bissessar. “Sometimes when you have too many chiefs, too many sheriffs, it’s a lot of confusion.”
Newsday asked if the UNC might ever lead a coalition government, again.
“There are only two true political parties, the UNC and PNM. The COP is there and a new party, the PEP, but at this point in time we are making our party stronger each day. We have been working the ground for the past three-and-a-half years.
“At this point working in a coalition is a bit premature, especially as we don’t know who the other parties will be. Right now we are strong. 2019 will be a very interesting year for the politics of TT, and we are about mobilising and going from strength to strength in our party.
“We don’t have a problem if people want to join us and come back to the UNC.”
He said the party is gearing up for the local government elections due in late 2019. “We must begin on January 1. We’ll get boots on the ground to meet people in their surroundings and on their turf. It’s a lot of hard work.
“It won’t be an ‘air’ (radio and television) campaign but a ‘ground’ (door to door) campaign, as our funds are very limited. We’ll build on our work done in 2018.” Lee said the Guyanese government had recently collapsed as the people’s suffering was not alleviated by the promised bounty of huge new finds of crude oil. He likened this to economic hardship in TT in recent years including 7,000 jobs lost. “The economy has been very flat.” As a businessman, he had seen how his colleagues are all just keeping their heads above water. “It is interesting times.”