Though endorsed as the next leader of the United National Congress (UNC) and prime minister-in-waiting, Dr Roodal Moonilal cleared the air by emphasising that the party already has a leader and that person is not him.
On Friday night at a virtual cottage meeting, former Tabaquite MP Dr Surujrattan Rambachan said Moonilal deserves the leadership position.
But Moonilal told Sunday Newsday on Saturday, "Mr Rambachan got carried away with the exuberance of the moment.
"That matter does not arise. We (UNC) have one party and one leader, Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who we all support unconditionally and will return as prime minister on August 10."
Scores of supporters gathered on Saturday outside Moonilal’s Oropouche East constituency office at Debe Junction for Emancipation Day celebrations, followed by a motorcade under police's watchful eyes.
On the holiday, Moonilal said the people of African origins have made significant contributions to TT, the Caribbean, and world history. He saluted Africa, saying that continent has given an enormous amount of wisdom, knowledge, and science to people. Many African traditions are reflected in TT’s culture, he said. Moonilal said one of his campaign songs incorporates the African proverb "The lion does not turn around when the little dog barks."
However, he said, as supporters cheered, "Notwithstanding 186 years after the emancipation of slaves, we also note that discrimination and injustice continue not only in TT but across the world.
"UNC stands proud as a party that puts laws and institutions in place to deal with injustices, discriminations, and marginalisation against our brothers of African origins and others. We are proud of our track record in dealing with racism in TT."
Moonilal expressed his displeasure over PNM lady vice chairman Camille Robinson-Regis’ comments on Friday night that voters should not put a "drunk driver" in charge of the country.
Moonilal told reporters he was not surprised the "nasty and baffling statements" came from Robinson-Regis.
"These are things always on their minds.
"The people today care about jobs, roads, water, infrastructure.
"The people in this area care about flooding. They want to eliminate flooding, which has destroyed and wrecked their community for three to five years."
"They are not into mauvais langue and picong and that type of nastiness that Robinson-Regis, Hinds and others are infamous for. We condemn that in a strong term."
Mickyle "Prince Calliste," the grandnephew of calypsonian Leroy "Black Stalin" Calliste, performed at Saturday's event, Moonilal told Sunday Newsday on Saturday.as well as members of the Neptune Traditional Arts Dance Club and Nirvana Dance company.