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UNC Political Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar addresses a virtual meeting on Thursday night.

UNC leadership challenger Vasant Bharath, former MP Ramona Ramdial and opposition activist Devant Maharaj have all clapped back at the party’s political leader Kamla Persad- Bissessar after she bitterly sought to share licks on them during the launch of her election slate on Thursday.

The war of words escalated as campaigning moved into high gear for UNC’s December 6 internal election.

After Persad-Bissessar attacked Bharath, including asking where he had been for five years, he said yesterday: “Was I an MP, senator, councillor or executive member? There was no avenue to assist other than the work I did nationally where UNC fell down and she would know people from all over UNC came to me for help, including from Siparia. Check!

“I wrote her prior to the elections offering assistance. She didn’t respond. Let her say I didn’t do so! Check!

“I was the one who took on the property tax issue when UNC people were saying let the population take that as they had voted PNM for it! Former MP Christine Newallo-Hosein was chided for inviting me to address a property tax meeting in her area. I fought the PNM to prevent them from putting houses on St Augustine nursery land. I’ve been the main spokesman against PNM’s economic/financial policies and assisted many UNC MPs with briefs for Parliament debates, helped Cunjal farmers, getting lights, water and other assistance for many others. Check!”

Bharath added: “But she continues deflecting why the party continues failing, passing her failures to others. Until responsibility is accepted the outcome will always be the same. Jamaican Opposition Leader Peter Taylor resigned after he lost saying blame always resides at the leader’s feet. Check! And let people learn from that!”

Ramdial responded to Persad-Bissessar’s comments about people who didn’t get seats after being in the Parliament for ten years and asking why they didn’t get the seat. Persad-Bissessar threw words at Ramdial saying she would tell her why she wasn’t selected.

Ramdial said: “I challenge her to come out and say why because I too know why but will keep that for next Wednesday’s platform.

“I was very disappointed in her slate of candidates. It’s the same previous Natex (national executive) members reshuffled, failed Natex members who are responsible for our general election loss. There’s no confidence in this team. Members have said it.

“She rambled on, ming our candidates for her failed leadership activities but she didn’t take responsibility for her poor candidate choices, weak campaign platforms, her racist ads, last-minute selection of East-West Corridor candidates.”

Ramdial added: “She should have said how she intends to restructure UNC to win government, whether UNC will finally have a home and how she’ll ensure members have a voice.

“She continued blaming everybody but herself for UNC’s numerous losses. Our team has candidates who worked tirelessly for the last general election. One was campaign manager for the current Tabaquite MP, another was a candidate for the last election.

“She wondered where he was for the past five years but failed to tell people he reached out to her to offer his services and she totally ignored him. He also reached out to Dev Tancoo who confirmed this on the platform but who also told him his services weren’t needed.

“Persad-Bissessar needs to be reminded of one of her sitting MPs who during general elections was on a stage singing with PNM Faris Al Rawi in S’ando West while poor candidate Sean Sobers wasn’t invited! So who really worked with the PNM?”

Ramdial added: “Passing the buck of losing general elections to others is a hallmark of weak leadership. She’s no different from Prime Minister Rowley when he blames her for Trinidad and Tobago’s woes.”

Maharaj said Persad-Bissessar continues to plagiarise, referring to her recent plagiarised congratulatory message to US President-elect Joe Biden.

“She called for the Prime Minister to apologise to Janelle Commissiong for the state of Queen Street. However, less than 24 hours earlier Bharath made that exact call yet she pretended it was her own.”