Despite the United National Congress (UNC) losing the last two general elections with Kamla Persad-Bissessar at the helm, Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal believes she is the leader to guide the party into government in 2025.
The Oropouche East Constituency executive committee endorsed Persad-Bissessar yesterday ahead of the UNC’s December 6 internal elections.
At a media conference at the Oropouche East Constituency Office in Debe yesterday, Moonilal acknowledged Bharath’s service in the UNC-led People’s Partnership government between 2010-2015.
He said the committee holds no ill-will towards any candidate, but unanimously chose to support Persad-Bissessar.
While the UNC lost several elections under Persad-Bissessar’s leadership, Moonilal said the defeats were not only his leader’s responsibility.
“Democracy requires a choice between what is available. When we looked at the persons available, it was clear to us, in having the discussion, that Mrs Persad-Bissessar has the experience, the expertise and she can preside over the rebuilding of the party.
“She can preside over the expansion of the party, and we give her our support. There is a lot of work to be done, but it is not just the work of Mrs Persad-Bissessar alone, it is the work of other persons as well,” Moonilal said.
He said the executive committee examined Bharath’s Curriculum Vitae but opted for Persad-Bissessar.
Moonilal is a former deputy political leader under Persad-Bissessar until 2015 when he contested the party’s leadership and lost.
Giving reasons for supporting Persad-Bissessar, committee chairman Milton Mathura said Bharath was not a member of the House of Representatives. It means that if even if he defeats Persad-Bissessar in the internal elections, he cannot assume the role of Opposition Leader.
“This model of dividing the roles of the Leader of the Opposition and party leader is largely unknown in the Commonwealth Caribbean. While not intractable, it fuels division and a dysfunctional party structure that is inimical to party unity and cohesion in small island states.”
Regarding claims of a rigged election process made by Bharath and former Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj, who has since dropped out the race, Moonilal said members should raise these issues behind closed doors.
He hopes that in the coming days, all members can meet and work out their concerns. He said all candidates must remember that following the elections, they still have to work together.
On Monday, Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein along with the St Augustine constituency came out in support of Persad-Bissessar.