Former Attorney General Remesh Lawrence Maharaj,right, congratulates his client-attorney at law Prakash Ramadhar during a press conference at his office in San Fernando,yesterday. Also in the photo is attorney Michael Rooplal.

Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj says he will not be attending a meeting called by former prime minister Basdeo Panday who is trying to establish unity movement with independent candidates and political entities.

At a news conference yesterday, Maharaj said he was flying out of the country today and will not be around for the meeting on Wednesday at Gaston Court, Chaguanas. He said he is no longer interested in politics and is focusing his commitments as a legal practitioner.

Maharaj served as Attorney General in the Panday administration until 2001 when there was a fallout. Panday later accused Maharaj of joining forces with the PNM to bring down the UNC government.

Former political leader of the Congress of the People Prakash Ramadhar also said he will not be attending Panday’s meeting and plans to call a press conference to discuss his political future at another time. However, independent candidate for San Fernando West Jowelle De Souza said she will attend.

“I believe it’s a meeting everyone should attend. You don’t have to tow any party lines. That meeting is not a meeting to show allegiance. It is just a meeting to discuss whether we can work together and I have no doubt that all the independents could work together,” De Souza said.

Noting that in all small parties there are “smart people”, she added: “We have people who have worked the trenches, Vasant Bharat, Garvin Nicholas. There are many fenceline voters who do not want to vote for the PNM or the UNC.”

“Mr Panday attracts a wide audience—people from the UNCNAR, and even Abu Bakr’s son. Mr Panday attracts more than the UNC could ever attract,” De Souza said.

She said the call by Panday for an alliance is not too late as in 1986 the NAR was formed shortly before elections and that party overthrew the PNM by winning 30 seats.

Panday recently made an appeal on Facebook for people who wanted meaningful change to come together and work on a plan.

He said: “It must be el­lu­cid­ly clear to all the small­er po­lit­i­cal par­ties in Trinidad and Tobago that un­der the present po­lit­i­cal sys­tem there is no way they are go­ing to win any seats in Par­lia­ment. If they are se­ri­ous in any mean­ing­ful par­tic­i­pa­tion in the po­lit­i­cal process then they must unite in a strug­gle to change the sys­tem. That means chang­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion. To do so they must get to­geth­er and con­test the next gen­er­al elec­tions un­der a sin­gle ban­ner. Per­sist­ing in the blame game will not solve any­thing. What do you think?”

Panday al­so post­ed: “Hav­ing re­gard to the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing state of af­fairs in our coun­try I think the time has come when those of us who seek mean­ing­ful change must come to­geth­er and work on a plan to do some­thing about it.”