UNC LEADER Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said she will await the publication of the latest covid19 restrictions before commenting.
During a UNC virtual rally the previous night, Persad-Bissessar had expressed alarm about what she described as new health regulations already in place, which she said could affect the outcome of the election.
But speaking with the media at the start of her motorcade from Morvant to Diego Martin on Friday, Persad-Bissessar said she was not sure the regulations are in place and will have to study them after they are made public.
In fact it was only on Friday afternoon that the Prime Minister, addressing the increased cases of covid19, said the country would have to revert to some previously relaxed regulations.
Despite first withholding comment, Persad-Bissessar said on Friday the changes were a sign that the PNM had failed to handle the situation.
“We are now we are seeing that they have been misleading the population. What we are seeing is that they were not doing the testing, so they lied about the narrative that they handled the covid(19).”
On the August 10 general election, she said the UNC will be closely monitoring the regulations being enforced on that day. She added that the Elections and Boundaries Commission does not have the legal power to turn away voters not wearing masks – a point also made during that afternoon’s media briefing.
Persad-Bissessar said, however, that she will be encouraging voters to wear masks, and would give out masks to those who walked along with the motorcade.
The restriction on public gatherings to 25 people, which remains in effect until the new rule is gazetted, was not observed during the motorcade. Masks were hardly worn and physical interactions remained as normal, with no social distancing.
Asked about the crowds at political gatherings, Persad-Bissessar said: “We will play close attention to the crowds and will monitor them and will have masks to distribute.”
The motorcade had all the markings of Carnival Monday and Tuesday. Had it included a road march competition, Taryll “Prince Swanny” Swan’s Real Mad Dawg, which he adapted for the UNC, would have won convincingly. The opening lines to the remake, rather than repeating the song title, say: “UNC, vote for Kamla/UNC, vote for Kamla.”
From Morvant Junction to Port of Spain, Newsday saw both young and old walking, chipping, waving and singing along blissfully as music trucks blared songs by local dancehall artists who remade their songs for various UNC candidates.
UNC deputy leader Jearlean John, who is contesting the La Horquetta/Talparo seat, was a favourite among the passengers and pedestrians. John joined the crowd at Beetham Gardens reigniting vigour among the crowd that was only seen otherwise when the UNC leader arrived.
Among the supporters were former national footballer Brent Sancho, former PNM MP Peter Taylor and Kirk Meighoo, former leader of his own party, the Democratic National Assembly.
The UNC candidates for constituencies from Laventille to Diego Martin were also present, waving to supporters like royalty as they walked or drove by.
Kareem Baird, who is contesting the Laventille East/Morvant seat, said he was convinced he will remove PNM incumbent Adrian Leonce come August 10.
“My chances are wonderful. I have never felt better.
“Now is the time to take Laventille East/Morvant away from the PNM and bring it home to the rising sun. I am very much convinced that I will win.”