FORMER United National Congress (UNC) Minister Devant Maharaj said he is behind a campaign of billboards calling for his political leader Kamla Persad Bissessar to go.
“I am behind that. I am doing that,” Maharaj said, adding that he is being inundated with offers from people who want to see the party progress to fund the billboards at strategic points throughout the country.
“But I really want to screen it. I don’t want PNM (People’s National Movement) people financing it.
“I am UNC and I remain UNC. This is UNC business. I just want to purge the party of the undemocratic, unconstitutional behaviour of those in authority.”
Maharaj has been criticised for his relentless attack against the party by members who have accused him of doing more harm than good.
Maharaj said he is not doing it to hurt the party to which he is still belongs, but to rescue the party and make it a formidable force.
“This is a life saving effort to bring back some semblance of normalcy and the cult of Kamla has to stop.”
"What is hurting the party more is the 11 losses at the polls in the face of the most unpopular government this country has ever seen in recent memory. We still lost it.”
“What is hurting the party is the constitution of the party is being trampled upon by the failure to adhere. For example the life of Natex (UNC’s National Executive) came to an end in November 2019, but it continued and took part in the election screening.”
According to the party’s constitution, he said, the general secretary should not be a member of parliament.
Dave Tancoo, who served in that position in the last executive, was elected as an MP. Maharaj said he has not seen Tancoo’s resignation letter and does not know if he resigned prior to the August 10 general election.
He also pointed to the failure of the Youth Arm, the Women’s Arm and other arms of the party to meet at scheduled time.
“All those things are being sacrificed to make Kamla great again and, after 11 electoral defeats, she is holding on tenuously for the internal elections. Its vulgar and offensive.”
“We don’t have a party anymore. We have a cult of personalities to make Kamla great again. The party is already wounded and on the ground bleeding.”
No one from the UNC executive responded to counter Maharaj’s damning claims.
In a release, however, the Opposition leader sounded an alarm over reports of ballots and poll cards found on the compound of Grand Bay Paper Products Ltd, and called for an urgent investigation by the police.
She said the integrity of the country's democracy is at stake.
Persad-Bissessar said the documents reportedly relate to elections held in 2015, 2019 and 2020 and if proven to be authentic then it raises serious concerns regarding the integrity of these three elections as well as the conduct of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC).
She said what is disturbing is that the company where the documents were found and its associate company, Trinidad Tissues Limited, was the recipient of a US$5 million loan facilitated by the PNM Government in 2016 through the EXIM Bank.
Persad-Bissessar said this adds to the long list of irregularities previously raised by the UNC including the inconsistent accounts by the Prime Minister regarding election observers.
Maharaj failed to see value in the concern expressed.
“They did it in 2015. We went to court, we lost and you come back with that same nonsense again. I mean people are dying from covid19 and they are still fighting an election they lost?"