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Fuad Abu Bakr

The Better United group of parties has turned down an approach from New National Vision (NNV) leader Fuad Abu Bakr to return to the group after he struck out in getting a People’s National Movement election candidacy last week.

Better United’s Louis Lee Sing (Port-of-Spain People’s Movement leader) confirmed the situation yesterday after the group discussed the approach at their weekly Wednesday meeting.

Better United includes the PPM, Congress of the People and Democratic Party of T&T. The group formed after a meeting which former UNC leader Basdeo Panday had earlier this year seeking a united opposition force under one umbrella to contest elections. Panday and some others who attended his meeting agreed to go that route but the COP, PPM and others didn’t and formed Better United.

Lee Sing said Bakr was at Panday’s meeting and after had attended BU’s meetings consistently. He said at the end of last week’s meeting, Bakr told the group he was no longer available since he was being screened by the PNM the following day for the Port-of-Spain South constituency.

“We were all surprised,” Lee Sing said.

“I was taken aback. I really believed Fuad had potential to be a strong contributor to national development. One group member said (PNM) wasn’t what he wanted for Mr Bakr, but he wished him well. I cautioned him ‘how you make your bed, you lie on it.’’’

Lee Sing said he’d asked Bakr whom he’d spoken to in PNM’s leadership and was told the leader. He said he also asked if Bakr was promised a seat and he said ‘yes.’

The PNM’s denied offering or planning to screen Bakr for a seat. PNM leader and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley also said he couldn’t remember the last time he spoke to the NNV leader and never invited him into the PNM.

Lee Sing said earlier this week Bakr approached a BU member to return and asked if it would be convenient to work with the group.

“We agreed to discuss it at our weekly meeting. We did so and arrived at consensus. We noted he’d chosen to go to PNM. But the genesis of Better United was to bring good governance to T&T, which wouldn’t have been necessary if the PNM was doing that,” he said.

“So while we wish Mr Bakr well on his journey, we don’t feel our ship can sail in the same direction as his. We’re now convinced his agenda isn’t in sync with ours.’’

The decision was being communicated to Bakr by the BU member he approached, Lee Sing said.

COP leader Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan agreed how Bakr made his bed, he’d now have to lie on it.

“It’s whether he subscribed to BU’s philosophies. If he did, he wouldn’t have gone to PNM,” she said. —Gail Alexander