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Devant Maharaj, political activist and former UNC Senator.

The United National Congress’ (UNC’s) Devant Maharaj who is looking to contest the UNC’s internal election—and possibly the UNC leadership—is calling for measures to ensure party members are protected from COVID infection in voting.

And he wants independent observers to ensure no rigging of UNC’s polls.

Maharaj wrote UNC chairman Peter Kanhani and leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday calling for health and police supervision for the election to ensure members are protected by COVID-19 protocols.

Maharaj explained his interest in contesting, “Given the political leader’s insulting words on the elections (at a recent virtual meeting) when she referred to our soldiers as ‘ants’ and other insects, I’ve become interested in contesting in the upcoming internal elections. As such, I’m requesting information on the same.”

Yesterday Maharaj told Guardian Media, “I’m interested in all posts including (and not restricted to) political leader and this will depend on the response I get to my queries which are geared towards a fair, transparent process.”

Maharaj who’s seeking a response within seven days, said he’s concerned about the following issues:

Given the COVID 19 spike of cases following general elections and the rise of community spread and that many of the UNC membership who are in the elderly, vulnerable/at risk group, what measures are being contemplated to protect members’ health if an election is called during the current spike.

In the context of Public Health Regulations, which may limit the number of persons in polling stations to the detriment of the electoral process, consultations should be held with the Health Ministry and Police Commissioner to ensure compliance with health regulations that may prevail at election time.

Is there a contemplated date or range of dates in which the elections may be conducted?

What are timelines and deadlines for the nomination process? When will the membership list be made available to persons contesting? When will the Elections Committee be formed to oversee the elections?

What process will be used to select the Elections Committee?

Given UNC’s position requesting observers for T&T’s general elections, and allegations of possible rigging of UNC’s internal elections, what steps are being taken to ensure independent observers for UNC’s elections?

What measures are being taken to mitigate against possible conflicts of interests with members of the present NatEx who also hold positions as MPs?

What role will the General Secretary and Public Relations Officer have in the internal elections given they’re both MPs despite the UNC’s Constitution prohibitions on same?