The United National Congress (UNC) must show it is open to change in the same way it wants voters to change from the People’s National Movement (PNM) and put Ramona Ramdial back as the Couva North candidate.
A group representing a movement of UNC’s Couva North constituents has voiced this call. Spokesman Rajesh Rattan says they’re seeking a meeting with party leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar to discuss their appeal.
Rattan added yesterday, “This is a perfect opportunity for the screening team to demonstrate to the country the principle that UNC is capable of change in the same way our party’s calling for voters to change the PNM. We should live the change we want people to make.”
“Our screening team should listen and respect the voices of the people who our leader says is the voice of God. The voices of Couva North want Ramona Ramdial. We know our leader isn’t beyond change.”
Ramdial was dropped from the UNC’s candidate lineup and replaced by Ravi Ratiram. Other candidate changes in about five UNC safe seats have also caused simmering feelings. Some constituency executives have issued statements supporting the candidates they’ve received. But some constituencies where candidate changes haven’t been welcomed, haven’t done so and not all outgoing MPs in those areas have done walkabouts with their replacement.
Last Friday there was a clash between Cumuto-Manzanilla election team activists/councillors and area candidate Rai Ragbir.
The team called for a meeting with the leadership to appeal to remove Ragbir but didn’t get it. Contacted on the issue, UNC chairman Peter Kanhai told Guardian Media all candidates must respect activist teams working for elections as they’re the UNC’s “backbone.”
Following yesterday’s Guardian Media report on the Cumuto clash, the activists had a meeting with the leadership yesterday.
But in Couva North, chairman Orlando Nagessar recently said his executive never got a reason from UNC’s screening team why Ramdial was removed.
Last Sunday residents of Limehead Road and environs demonstrated calling for Ramdial to be returned and Bank Village and Orange Valley residents also voiced the call.
Yesterday in the latest action to get Ramdial back, Rattan added, “We have nothing against the new candidate. We’re all UNC. But we’re certain a role can be found elsewhere for him. Couva North constituents consider Mrs Ramdial, family. She’s delivered and stands up for them and people want the family to remain together.”
“Nomination day is Friday. Changes could be made. We’re asking our leader to be the instrument of change and correct the screening team’s mistake.”
The group was seeking a meeting with Persad-Bissessar by today to show why reconsideration of Ramdial’s candidacy is essential to UNC’s campaign and winning the upcoming election.
“We understand such a move is unprecedented in the UNC or any other party but our leader is a champion of unprecedented change. We’re pleading for this short meeting in which she can be T&T’s first political leader to allow constituents to play a more active role-selection of a candidate. She can be the first to champion the evolution of politics. This unprecedented change in the politics can start in the UNC.”