Former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday is curious why some UNC MPs are “so riled” up about his moves to unite smaller parties to seek constitutional reform and contest general elections.
He was commenting after UNC MP Fuad Khan, Roodal Moonilal, Rudy Indarsingh and Suruj Rambachan frowned on his plan.
He has issued a call for a meeting with small parties in Chaguanas tomorrow (Wednesday).
Panday said, “Responses (to the meeting) have been very good. But I can’t understand (UNC MPs) views.
They may feel threatened they may no longer dominate the Parliament if a third force succeeds including in seeking proportional representation. That wouldn’t allow voting along racial lines the way it is now.”
He said tomorrow’s meeting was open and wasn’t a “secret” meeting.
One person whom Panday invited who won’t attend is National Coalition for Transformation head Nalini Dial.
“I thought it was a private meeting. That would have been better for views to be voiced properly, then later go public,” Dial said, adding Panday’s meeting seemed to be a front to gain support/members for his daughter’s party.
She said Panday contacted her last week and she at first agreed to attend. But she isn’t, after noting Panday’s social media posts inviting others. Dial said she and others were having unity talks since May 2019, aiming to launch a united front after Carnival.
“I actually made the first call on social media last year, for all these small parties to unite and fight the next elections. DPTT’s Steve Alvarez sought talks last May and we agreed we needed to come together to be a stronger force.”
She said a group, “Together We Achieve was formed “ including Alvarez, Clyde Weatherhead, Kenneth Munro Brown, Philip Franco, Subharaj Sarwan who met in June 2019, “We agreed unity was the only way forward, but we should try to get others involved. I gave the group about 16 names. Included were, (Congress of the People) COP, (Movement for Social Justice )MSJ, (Independent Liberal Party) ILP, (National Solidarity Assembly) NSA, (Progressive Party) PP, (Patriotic Front) PF, (People’s Empowerment Party) PEP, (Democratic National Assembly) DNA, TTDF, and others. We left out PNM and UNC; and Vasant Bharath and Louis Lee Sing, because they weren’t leaders of any party.”
Affirmative responses only came from the PP, PF, and ILP, she said. PP’s Nikoli Edwards agreed to attend and PF’s Mickela Panday agreed but never attended. She said the group continued meeting and agreed to launch their united front after Carnival and make a public appeal to others.
“It’s, therefore, very surprising to see Mr Panday’s unity call now especially since he never contacted me since last year when I was making this same unity call.”
Reporter: Gail Alexander