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Dinesh Rambally

Attorney for the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) Dinesh Rambally is refuting speculation that he was selected to contest the Chaguanas West seat as some sort of payback by the United National Congress (UNC).

On Sunday, the party announced that Rambally was selected to replace outgoing Member of Parliament and longstanding UNC member Ganga Singh. “I have no hesitation in assuring the entire citizenry that their candidates would be chosen on merit,” Rambally said in response to questions about his selection. Just hours after Rambally, UNC insiders questioned his selection.

According to those insiders, Rambally’s selection signalled the deep ties between the UNC and the SDMS. They say that Persad-Bissessar “owed” the SDMS because her grandson was hired as a teacher at an SDMS school on Mohess Road.

Rambally dismissed that the “naysayers habitually express negative views,” He said he has been a lawyer for 19 years and also has a “sterling” record as a member of the Industrial Court. Rambally said he was urged to get into politics. “I have been urged to get involved in the political arena and I believe now is the time. I would like to believe that I was chosen because of my track record and because the ‘over 30-year-old’ party believes that I have a lot of experience to offer to our country at this time and particularly, to the people of Chaguanas West,” he said.

“In terms of Chaguanas West, I was born there and grew up in the Constituency. I am a son of the soil. An overwhelming number of UNC Party Groups and activists supported me in my bid to be the next UNC candidate,” he said. Whether Persad-Bissessar’s relative was given a job at an SDMS school, Rambally he did not know the political leaders family, “let alone their professions.

“I must add that I will not be privy to such information as I am the legal adviser to the SDMS. I, therefore, offer advice and representation in a legal capacity. This does not mean that I am a member of the SDMS’ executive or that I am a part of any interview panel treating with prospective teachers,” he said.

He added the SDMS and UNC had similar view of political meritocracy.