FORMER minister Vasant Bharath said the public tongue-lashing Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar got from the Prime Minister on Wednesday has embarrassed him and the party and reinforced the view that there is need for change at the top.
Persad-Bissessar was slammed by Dr Rowley over her claim that Government had duped the OWTU into thinking they would have first priority on the purchase of the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery when it was secretly looking to sell to a foreign entity.
He accused her of undermining the people of TT, the labour movement and the banking sector all in the name of distracting the public with her claims and attention away from a highly embarrassing case of plagiarism of a UK MP’s congratulatory message to US president elect Joe Biden, which was posted to Persad-Bissessar’s Facebook account.
“Today I witnessed another bashing by the prime minister. It was embarrassing,” Bharath said during a virtual campaign meeting on Wednesday night. Bharath is contesting the post of political leader – held by Persad-Bissessar – in the UNC’s internal elections on December 6.
“I offer my services and whatever else I have to offer...my experience, my expertise in the field of finance, in the field of economics, in the field of energy, to assist the party regardless of the fact that we have an internal election on December 6. We all owe it to ourselves to ensure that we save ourselves the kind of embarrassment we witnessed today.”
Under the leadership of Persad-Bissessar, Bharath said, the UNC has lost its way and the membership must make a conscious decision as to, “Whether the leadership, which has failed us on 11 previous occasions can take us into victory on the 12th attempt.
“We must decide, members of this great party, whether we want to be in government in the next five years or less or whether we want to stay in opposition for the next 15.”
“We are in politics to win. When we win we get into government. None of us are in politics to stay in opposition.” He said if the party does not face the realities of why it continues to fail, then “We would always be hoping to win rather than planning to win.”
He said during the last election the opposition conducted a feeble campaign and made unforced errors. He slammed Persad-Bissessar for ousting seasoned campaigners like former Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial and attorney Larry Lalla, both of whom are in Bharath’s campaign team. He said that the leader had discarded veterans such as Dr Tim Gopeesingh, Dr Suruj Rambachan and Kevin Ramnarine causing their ever shrinking base to doubt that the UNC is a viable alternative to the PNM.
He compared the results from 2010 when the party captured 29 seats, a constitutional majority, with 432,000 votes; to 2020 with 19 seats from 309,000 votes. “A loss of 123,000 votes in 10 years and we lost four partners along the way. The buck must stop with the leader,” he said.