Ganga: Kamla’s leadership unassailable

Ganga Singh says Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s “political leadership is unassailable,” but he is maintaining his position that “there is need for constitutional propriety in the actions of the National Executive (Natex) to call the election of the Political Leader without her vacating the office.”

The national congress of the United National Congress meets today at 5 pm at Shiva Boys’ College in Penal when the decision of the Natex to call the election for the post of Political Leader a year before it is due will be discussed in light of a challenge from Singh that the decision is “ultra vires of Article 18 of the UNC Constitution.”

Singh wrote to the party’s general secretary Dave Tancoo last week challenging the decision, but the Natex sent a legal letter indicating that his interpretation was wrong. Persad-Bissessar herself has told Singh that in her view the decision was “intra vires the party’s Constitution,” and was legal.


In the midst of the debate over whether the party’s constitution is being violated, former St Augustine MP Vasant Bharath announced his decision to challenge Persad-Bissessar for leadership of the party.

Bharath told the T&T Guardian last week that he had been getting support from “sitting UNC MPs and activists,” but UNC chairman David Lee challenged Bharath to “name the MPs who are supporting him.”

Lee said as chairman of the UNC “I do not believe there are any sitting MPs supporting Bharath.”

When the T&T Guardian asked Singh if he was perhaps one of those referred to by Bharath, he said his issue had nothing to do with the leadership of the UNC. He said Persad-Bissessar’s “political leadership is unassailable. I don’t know what is Vasant’s intention in fighting because her position is unassailable I cannot fathom his intention.”

His position, he said, is that “there is need for constitutional propriety in the actions of the executive to call the election of the political leader without her vacating the office.”

Caroni East MP Dr Bhoe Tewarie said the constitutional issue raised by Singh “cannot just be brushed aside, it must be treated properly. There are options in the constitution.”

The manner in which the issue had evolved he said has “put the party under scrutiny and has placed it in a situation where it is going to be tested as a political party.”

He is hoping that at the end of today’s meeting “the UNC will emerge stronger than it is right now.”

But he warned that if things are “handled ineptly today then the party could end up being divided and fractured and incapable of inspiring.”

Tewarie said those who are managing the agenda must “appreciate the fact that they must begin with the end in mind. That means we have to prepare and ready the party to win an election whenever it is called. That means that we have to transform the party. It means you have to have a variety of attractive faces in the party with support from different sectors of Trinidad and Tobago.”

He said at the end of today’s meeting, the membership must feel “inspired,” and those who do not support the UNC must be able to say that the “UNC has managed its business well, it has conducted itself with dignity, and that its leaders have functioned with a level of maturity that is desirable.”

He said if those things are not achieved “we would have fallen short and it would be very difficult to justify ourselves as the alternative. The country deserves more and the people are entitled to more.”

Christine Newallo, who had previously said she was also concerned as to whether the processes of the party were being followed, said, “Both Persasd-Bissessar and Bharath are great people. I respect both.” Newallo is yet to decide which of the two she will support. While she felt that both had strong points “and if a general election is called we need both,” she felt that neither of them had what it takes to “grow the UNC outside of the traditional base.”

Newallo-Hosein said she had not received an agenda for today’s meeting, but she said “based on what happens at the congress I will decide what’s next.”

Source: Guardian