Panday: Kamla is the UNC's business

Former prime minister Basdeo Panday 

 - Vashti Singh
Former prime minister Basdeo Panday - Vashti Singh

UNC founder and former prime minister Basdeo Panday on Friday said it was the UNC's problem whether Kamla Persad-Bissessar resigns as its leader.

Panday also said the PNM's 22-19 victory in the election will not fundamentally improve the lives of most citizens.

Despite calls from several quarters for Persad-Bissessar to resign, UNC PRO and Tabaquite MP-elect Anita Haynes said the UNC has full confidence in Persad-Bissessar and this includes all 18 MPs-elect.

On Tuesday, Haynes said Persad-Bissessar's future as UNC leader does not hinge on the results of the recounts going in the party's favour.

"The UNC has very clear internal processes in terms of how our leadership is chosen," she said.

She recalled that Persad-Bissessar was elected "with a very huge mandate."

She added, "When our elections are due, we will have elections. But until then, the question of leadership does not arise in the UNC. We have full confidence in the political leader of the UNC."

Several former UNC MPs were non-commital over whether or not Persad-Bissessar should resign. Individual MPs-elect such as David Lee, Barry Padarath and Khadijah Ameen have openly expressed their support for Persad-Bissessar

Panday said it did not matter which party won the election because people continue to lack basic amenities such as water and housing.

He also said neither the PNM nor the UNC want to undertake the constitutional reform that will make racial and ethnic voting a thing of the past, pointing out that both parties had constitutional majorities under Dr Eric Williams and Persad-Bissessar, but did not undertake any constitutional reform.

"I don't think either party wants that."

Panday also said the opportunity for fundamental change was also missed with Arthur NR Robinson and the NAR from 1986-1991.

His focus, he said, remains on the 40 per cent of the electorate that consistently does not support either the PNM or the UNC, and only by mobilising this part of the electorate can there be a demand for constitutional reform. Panday said this is what he tried to do with some of the smaller political parties before the election, but that initiative was rejected.

Panday's daughter Mickela, leader of the Patriotic Front, said last month the party's campaign would begin after the election.

On June 25, Mickela announced the PF would contest all 41 seats and her father would be its campaign manager. But on July 14, she said the Prime Minister’s sudden announcement of the election date on July 3 made it impossible for the party to run the kind of campaign it wanted to.

he PF, she stressed, “was not born merely to fight elections, it was born to restructure the society.”


"Panday: Kamla is the UNC’s business"

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