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Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal

Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal is welcoming the move to include new and

younger faces in the United National Congress slate of candidates for the upcoming general election.

Commenting on Guardian Media’s front-page article on Saturday that several long-serving members will not be selected by the party’s screening committee, Moonilal said any political party that is worth its salt must ensure young people play an active role.

During an interview at the Radha Krishna Mandir, Gandhi Village, Debe, Moonilal thanked Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh for his dedicated service. Gopeesingh had announced a few days ago that he will not be contesting the election.

“All political parties, if they are worth their salt and if they intend to continue and live on to serve the country must at different times ensure that younger and more vibrant persons come into the public life to serve.

“So this is a welcomed sign that the UNC can attract young, fresh, educated, trained, skilled persons, so I am happy with that.

“The political leader has indicated that it will be a mix of young, fresh faces but also with some experience, steady hands on board and that is a good recipe for success.”

‘OPEN THE BORDERS’

Moonilal, like Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissesaar, called on the Government to reopen the borders to nationals wanting to return home, including those who want to vote.

“It is absurd to ask persons to pay for quarantine…This is unthinkable, unacceptable and untenable.”

He said denying nationals an opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote was a dangerous move.

“The Government is using a pandemic to violate every law, every constitutional principle, every rule of law in T&T.”

Claiming that the Government is using the COVID lockdown for political objectives, Moonilal said they have reduced the speaking time for MPs and are on the verge of suggesting a virtual finance committee meeting. “That is fascinating. The Government wants to get $2.6 billion to spend between now and election, that is almost $1b a month to spend and they don’t want the members to go to Parliament to speak…

“They want us to stay in living rooms at home, go on the computer and raise questions where the national community will not see what is happening, will not be getting it live.

“They are using the lockdown to lockout transparency, scrutiny and accountability. This Government is on a dangerous course.”

Moonilal also accused the Government of giving hampers paid for by taxpayers to PNM candidates to bolster their campaign. He said they have proof of that in Fyzabad and Oropouche East and it will be raised in Parliament in the coming days.