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Princes Town MP Barry Padarath.

Incumbent UNC Princes Town MP Barry Padarath is returning home a little later this week than initially planned—and he isn’t worried about fallout from recent general election candidate selection since he says the party has matured.

“The objective now is all hands on deck,” Padarath said yesterday.

Padarath’s been in Miami since March when T&T’s borders closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last Sunday, the party announced he will contest the Princes Town seat again. He was one of eight of the 18 incumbents who were retained. Ten other incumbents were replaced—the majority of those were asked to step down. There has been some shock and sadness in several areas which outgoing incumbents had represented. But those MPs haven’t complained and continue to support the party.

UNC deputy leader David Lee didn’t answer calls on the issue yesterday.

But Padarath said the approach by the MPs was a sign that the party is maturing. He noted that in years before among parties, candidate selection often caused some anger. He said the MPs now understood that everyone has a role to play.

“… Once we form government—there can only be 39 candidates and they all agreed to work towards the interest of forming the next government,” Padarath said.

Padarath had initially projected returning home tomorrow but said he’d changed his arrangements and will now return home later in the week. He said the change was due to the fact that he’d been booked on a charter flight but the person running the charter didn’t realise passengers had to have exemptions to return home before they could leave where they were.

“So I’m now getting to Antigua and from there getting a chartered flight home,” he added.

Padarath said he’ll enter quarantine for 14 days when he returns. On his presence for the July 17 Nomination Day exercise, he said he’s spoken to the Elections and Boundaries Commission and was assured his election agent can handle all procedures for him.

“In any event, I was the last candidate chosen in 2015. This time I’ll have more time to campaign,” he said.

He said he plans to bring his infant daughter home with him but he’s consulting her paediatrician first.

Meanwhile, re-selected Oropouche East MP Roodal Moonilal yesterday said that rumours of a “cuss-out” between him and UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar at last Saturday’s meeting (with incumbents) was completely false and bizarre.

“I’m grateful to the leader and screening team for expressing a vote of confidence in me to continue the journey of representing Oropouche East,” Moonilal said.

Acknowledging he’s among the most senior and experienced MPs on the team now, Moonilal said, “I look forward to working with the new MPs and transferring knowledge I’ve acquired over the years to the new generation of leaders.”

He also brushed off claims of an impending police matter surrounding the recent protests in Port-of-Spain.