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Barry Padarath

Gail Alexander

UNC Princes Town MP Barry Padarath who is overseas has contacted the party on when he’ll be screened and has been told the party will “be in touch with him” on it.

Padarath who’s been in Miami since March when T&T’s borders closed, confirmed the situation Friday. Padarath recently sought leave from the Parliament until month-end.

Padarath has been in the US looking after his 10-month-old baby daughter Sejai. He said he was nominated for Princes Town and had spoken to UNC’s general secretary on when screening might be. But party general secretary Dev Tancoo said no date for Princes Town’s screening was scheduled.

Padarath said he raised the issue of whether screening would be done by technological platforms. He said he was assured that it wasn’t that he wouldn’t be screened and the party would “be in touch” with him on the screening.

Tancoo didn’t answer on the issue Friday.

Padarath said “Whatever the party decides I’ll go with it, my support is for my party and leader. No one’s bigger than the party…I don’t need a party to fight the PNM as I’ve done in the past.“

Padarath added, “Government needs to say if it will be calling general elections while the borders are closed and if the 330,000 people they say are outside will be disenfranchised – that should not be.”

On Thursday Opposition Leader Kamla Persad- Bissessar who’d slammed any possible move by Government for calling polls with borders closed, had also demanded that Government call elections immediately.

Meanwhile, after Caroni East MP Tim Gopeesingh on Thursday announced he wasn’t contesting, attention is now focused on those who earlier this year filed nomination for Caroni East – celebrity chef Jason Peru, Caroni East chairman Dr Richad Seecheran and political analyst Kirk Meighoo. The husband of a South clothing retailer (whom UNC sources also tipped) said he wasn’t in the race.

Other incumbents have said they filed nominations, are awaiting screening and hadn’t stepped down. They included UNC’s Roodal Moonilal, Rudy Indarsingh, Bhoe Tewarie, Rushton Paray and others. COP MP Prakash Ramadhar hasn’t yet determined his direction.

UNC MPs screened so far are David Lee, Rodney Charles and Lackram Bodoe.

On social media speculation Charles may be replaced by a popular UNC councillor, Charles said he couldn’t comment on that, “…But whatever the party decides I’m 110 per cent behind them,” he added.

Of UNC’s 17 MPs, those out so far are Gopeesingh and MPs Suruj Rambachan and Ganga Singh. Rambachan said he retired from politics. Singh opted out due to disagreement with the leadership on his call for a united Opposition force of all parties. UNC’s 10 candidates which include new young faces also include some unsuccessful candidates from the Citizen’s Alliance party of years ago.