Sources within the United National Congress have revealed that a close female relative of the Opposition Leader and not her communications team that is to blame for the plagiarised congratulatory message posted to her Facebook account last Saturday.
Guardian Media learned that the relative who made the mistake is not within the formal ranks of the UNC but has full administrative rights for the Opposition Leader’s official Facebook page.
The information we received came just a few hours after the communications team purportedly apologised to Kamla Persad-Bissessar via that same Facebook page.
In the statement, the team said: “In our haste to post a congratulatory note to the President-elect Biden, we used material from the message issued by the British Labour Party.”
The statement went on to say that “To those who read the message and to our Leader, we offer our deepest and most sincere apology and we accept full responsibility for this critical error.”
But Guardian Media was told the communications team did not write that post and was, in fact, taken aback when they saw it on Facebook.
And that’s because we understand they had minimal input in the original message that was posted on Saturday.
Guardian Media was told that a close female relative of the Opposition Leader has control of the Facebook page with full administrative rights.
We were told that this female relative would usually draft the messages that are posted from this page and forward them to the communications team to vet for grammar and spelling.
However, in the case of Saturday’s message, we understand that nobody on the team thought to check for plagiarism.
The source told us that UNC staff and Members of Parliament are not even sure if Persad-Bissessar herself was aware of the post going out.
Guardian Media also understands that sometimes the female relative would bypass the communications team altogether and post to the page after only liaising directly with MP’s close to the leader.
Meanwhile, the communications team has been receiving public criticism in light of the apology.
“If you, the Communication Team accepts responsibility, then do the honourable thing and resign immediately,” one Facebook user said.
“Mistake? Seriously? More like an attempt to sabotage the Opposition Leader!” another poster said.
Guardian Media attempted to contact Persad-Bissessar to confirm or deny the allegation of her relative’s involvement and to ask what changes will be/have been made to prevent a recurrence.
We received no response.
On October 30, Vasant Bharath who is vying for the positing of Political Leader in the December 6 internal elections described the party as being in “complete disarray.”