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Jearlean John

Renuka Singh

The United National Congress (UNC) deputy leader Jearlean John is the party’s pick for La Horquetta/Talparo.

The party promised to reveal more candidates during its virtual meeting last night but party leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar only announced John’s selection.

The party has already completed its screening and all 17 sitting MPs have been screened and are awaiting news of their selection

She said she while many are complaining about the new faces, the youth is needed to energize the party.

In speaking about her plan for when the UNC is back in office, Persad-Bissessar said she was looking to remove taxes from foreign used vehicles in order to make it easier to purchase those vehicles.

Persad-Bissessar said that people were tied to loans for seven years to own a vehicle and it made it harder to be able to purchase a house.

“There are people in this country, who because of the historic discrimination, we have a lot of people descended from African slaves who never had the chance to get a piece of land. The indenture led servants who came from India had the choice at the end of indentureship that they could stay for a piece of land or they could go back home,” she said.

“I thank God my family stayed,” she said.

Persad-Bissessar said a “normal person cannot afford” a house from the Housing Development Corporation.

“I will reintroduce a revamped land for the landless programme,” she said.

She said it was not a hand down but a hand up.

She said the UNC also planned to challenge some of the laws brought in by Attorney Gener Faris Al-Rawi including the Miscellaneous Provisions Bill and the Interception of Communication Bill.

“Once we get into there, I promise you, they cannot get into your email and so on, we will repeal that draconian law,” she said.

She said it was under the former UNC leader Basdeo Panday that the foreign-used vehicle market was opened up for people to access good vehicles without the cost of a new vehicle.

She recalled that she lived in a shack, walked barefoot to school and worked as a waitress in London to afford to study.

She said that education is the only way out of poverty yet the Government was not completing schools.

“We will put back the laptop programme,” she said.

Persad-Bissessar already said she would not implement the Government’s Revenue Authority and said now that by just strengthening the existing Board of Inland Revenue there would be billions more collected in taxes.

She said instead of raising taxes, the country should diversify the economy and focus on agriculture, sugar and solar energy.

Persad-Bissessar promised, inter alia, the following within the first 90 days back in office:

1. The repeal of the property tax legislation.

2. Fixing the air and sea bridge.

3. Incorporating a squad into the TTPS specifically for farmers and fishermen.

4. Settle all outstanding issues for ex-Caroni and ex-Petrotrin workers and came farmers.

5. Resource the TTPS.

6. Work with stakeholders to get the Petrotrin refinery working again.

7. Bring procurement legislation.