The lady continues.
United National Congress leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says she will serve until the party’s internal elections and isn’t running from responsibility in any General Election election mistakes – but she’s alluded to the upcoming period as the “twilight” of her political career.
“After careful thought, prayer and reflection, I have decided to commit myself to the leadership of the party in and outside of Parliament until the internal election,” Persad-Bissessar added yesterday.
This was Persad-Bissessar’s position – released via a statement – after days of calls from people inside and outside the party recommending she step down in the wake of the party’s latest election defeat to the People’s National Movement.
Her statement came soon after the Elections and Boundaries Commission concluded the last of the five recounts in St Joseph and confirmed the PNM’s 22-19 win stood.
In her statement, Persad-Bissessar officially conceded defeat, which she hadn’t done on election night, saying, “After some days of reflection and monitoring of the progress of the election recount process, I am satisfied the people have spoken and that (PNM leader) Dr (Keith) Rowley and his party shall form the new Government of T&T. I congratulate them and wish them the best.”
She added, “I know many of you are feeling a sense of disappointment with the election result. I, too, am disappointed with the election and I accept full responsibility for the result. I share the grave concerns expressed by many about the election irregularities and the need to strengthen the integrity of the electoral process.
“Personally, I am disappointed with the results but note the UNC was able to achieve gains in three of the key marginal seats, which may have given us a chance at that majority, but those gains were insufficient.”
Regarding her future, she said she had given the last 25 years of her life in dedicated service to the country.
“In this election, I invested in the youth of T&T. We have a parliamentary team that is full of young, brilliant, creative minds. It is my duty to facilitate the development and transformation that must take place in the UNC, with an eye on the future to ensure the baton for leadership is passed into strong and capable hands at the appropriate time.”
She added, “Some observers have been raising questions about my political future and some are keen to see me exit the political landscape. This is understandable, as I have myself queried whether I should resign. This is not an easy job.
“You must accept responsibility for mistakes made whether you were aware of them or not, whether you had any control over them or not. And yes, some of them you make on your own – I lay no claim to infallibility. I accept full responsibility. Having consulted with my colleagues, it is clear that running away is not an option at this point in time. The UNC must have a degree of stability as it consolidates and unites during the period of transition, growth and transformation.”
She added, “Until such a time as our party chooses otherwise, I will remain their faithful champion and servant. It has already been explained that the UNC will hold scheduled elections for a political leader.”