Former PNM deputy leader Nafeesa Mohammed on Tuesday vowed to support UNC candidate for Barataria/San Juan Saddam Hosein in the August 10 general election.
She was addressing a virtual media conference held over Zoom after earlier announcing her resignation from the PNM
She said Hosein had visited her home in the Mohammedville area of San Juan twice in the election campaign, where she had embraced him as a brother, yet two weeks before election day she had not been approached by the PNM candidate. The PNM on May 11 declared radio announcer Jason “JW” Williams its candidate and, a week later, appointed him a government senator.
Replying to questions, Mohammed denied having recently spoken to UNC head Kamla Persad-Bissessar, but simply said she had embraced Hosein during his walkabout.
Mohammed alleged in 2018 she had been a victim of political abuse but gave no details.
Saying she has friends across the board, she said leaving the PNM has be "a very agonising decision for me.”
Since 2018, she said, she had felt exiled for her outspokenness and seeing no leaders address damage done to people, families and communities. So she had decided to resign from the PNM that her uncle and parents had helped build before 1956.
Her uncle Kamaluddin Mohammed was a founding member of the party in 1956 and served as a minister under Dr Eric Williams.
Mohammed was also pained by stalled talks over internal self-government for Tobago. Saying she was not a racist, she urged voters to value diversity in the election.
Earlier Mohammed alleged several grievances, dating from 2014 to present. These included the 2014 detention of 22 TT nationals in Venezuela including three imams who were seeking visas for Saudi Arabia, the detention of a TT national in Saudi Arabia who was freed in 2016, and the presence of 21 women and 66 children now in a refugee camp in Syria.
Mohammed accused Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi of bungling incompetence in his “draconian legislation” to change the marriage age to 18 (which stopped child marriage, previously allowed at age 12 for Muslim girls and14 for Hindu girls.)
She recalled the 2018 Carnival terror plot, which she said the police eventually dubbed “unusual criminal activity.”
Mohammed said TT was on the brink of collapse and needed leaders to heal the broken nation.
“The time has come for us to exercise our democratic right to choose the men and women who we would like to steer the course, stabilise the ship of state and lead us through the turbulence and the rough seas ahead to our destination of harmony, peace, love, unity and prosperity.
“I pray that all citizens will be able to go out in their numbers on August 10 and exercise their franchise freely and free from fear so that we can all come together with all hands on deck to rebuild, restore and reconstruct our broken nation.”