Jitters as 12 UNC MPs face the axe

MP for Couva South Rudy Indarsingh -
MP for Couva South Rudy Indarsingh -

Disappointment is expected on Sunday as the United National Congress (UNC) gets ready to announce the remaining 22 candidates to contest the 2020 general election on August 10.

Party sources said there is uncertainty in the UNC camp, especially among the incumbents as Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is expected to drop the axe on 12 of them who served as elected representatives in 18 constituencies.

Already four of them have bowed out of the race – Tabaquite MP Suruj Rambachan, Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh, Chaguanas West MP Ganga Singh and Dr Fuad Khan, MP for San Juan/Barataria.

It is believed outgoing Princes Town MP Barry Padarath, who was among the six favoured to return, may have lost his chance as he is out of the country and may not return in time for the July 17 Nomination Day. He has been granted an exemption to return from the US but is in Florida, unable to get a flight to Trinidad.

Among those sitting in “safe seats”, UNC sources said, are outgoing MPs for Oropouche East, Dr Roodal Moonilal, Pointe-a-Pierre, David Lee, Naparima, Rodney Charles, Fyzabad, Dr Lackram Bodoe and Persad Bissessar for Siparia.

On the chopping block are the Couva South and North MPs Rudy Indarsingh and Ramona Ramdial. So too is Fazal Karim who is expected to be replaced by Chaguanas Mayor Vandana Mohit in the Chaguanas East constituency. Bodoe, Indarsingh and Karim confirmed they were screened and are awaiting Sunday’s announcement.

“I had a good screening and if the political leader decides to go with another candidate, then so be it,” Karim said.

Christine Newallo-Hosein is expected to be replaced by either former energy minister Kevin Ramnarine or chairman of the Rio Claro/Mayaro Regional Corporation Glen Ram for Cumuto/Manzanilla. Ramnarine confirmed he was screened but could not say whether or not he will get the nod.

Two party executives Dave Tancoo and Peter Kanhai are also expected to be considered for Oropouche West and Couva South respectively. UNC PRO Anita Haynes, responding to the unconfirmed reports advised, “Don’t take on those people on the internet.”

The UNC has completed its screening but has named 17 candidates to date, including some in the marginal seats. Persad-Bissessar has said she was leaving those for last and did indicate in an interview with the media at one of its screening sessions in San Fernando, to expect changes.

Haynes confirmed on Friday, “The political leader said we are going forward with new faces and some experienced ones and she is a person who always keeps her word.” Haynes is earmarked to replace Rambachan. The UNC is not expected to field candidates in Tobago.


"Jitters as 12 UNC MPs face the axe"

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