FYZABAD MP Dr Lackram Bodoe and former UNC senator Sean Sobers predicted a clean sweep for incumbent UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and all members of her Star Team slate in the party's internal elections. Both men expressed their optimism after voting at Naparima College San Fernando.
Bodoe and Sobers are contesting the posts of deputy leader and policy and strategy officer respectively for the Star Team.
Bodoe praised the UNC's internal elections committee for the conduct of the elections."It's been very smooth so far. I just cast my ballot and everything appears to be working as expected."
He added, "With regards to our chances today, I think Team Star has an excellent chance." Bodoe also said based on her performance and track record, the UNC's membership "has a lot of good reasons" to re-elect Persad-Bissessar as leader.
Bodoe disclosed that party members supporting Team Star have been out early to vote. "We have had Star members lined up as early as 6 am, although the polls opened at 8 am." While admitting that concerns about covid19 may have reduced the numbers of UNC members voting, Bodoe was pleased that this does not appear to be the case.
As a medical doctor, Bodoe said he was happy to see that covid19 protocols, such as sanitisting, mask wearing and social distancing, were being adhered to. He was also satisfied with the level of security provided by the police. Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith met with members of the UNC internal elections committee last Monday to discuss security arrangements and covid19 protocols for the elections.
Sobers was also confident of his chances and Team Star's chances of victory. "We have been doing the work on the ground for quite some time. The result from the electorate has been extremely, extremely positive."
Sobers declared, "The work of the political leader has spanned decades and I think her stewardship has not ended. There is a lot of work still to be done."
There was a slow, but steady, stream of UNC members voting at Naparima College. There were similar scenes at Parvati Girls High School in Debe.
UNC internal elections committee chairman Ramesh Persad-Maharaj said the elections had been proceeding smoothly since the polls opened at 8 am. Persad-Maharaj said voting has been taking place "with order and discipline,"but he said there are reports that members of UNC political leader challenger Bharath's Team Lotus "are still campaigning today, all around the polling divisions and displaying their symbols and flouting a lot of the regulations."
Persad-Maharaj said the committee would not be deterred and would deal with this issue once the elections are over.
On social media on Sunday, UNC activist Devant Maharaj asked party members to record and send "any instances of voter intimidation and bullying, urgently to us."
Maharaj, who was initially contesting the post of political leader, subsequently withdrew and has been actively supporting Bharath.