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VASANT BHARATH

Former United National Congress (UNC) minister Vasant Bharath is calling on the party’s incumbent leader to address new irregularities which his team is experiencing while campaigning for the party’s internal elections carded for December 6.

During a news conference at Gaston Court, Chaguanas, on Saturday, Bharath, who is challenging incumbent Kamla Persad-Bissessar for the leadership role of the party said “The membership list essentially was supposed to have provided us with information with regard to the membership of the party, how we could properly canvass the membership, we expected details like telephone numbers, email addresses, house numbers and membership numbers.

“None of those items of information was present on the list, it was raked of all pertinent information, all we got was a name and a general area; that was it.

“A proper list does exist because Mrs Persad-Bissessar and her slate have been busy lobbying the membership for the last month, they had been receiving emails, telephone calls, paraphernalia in the post and text messages.

“Clearly, that intention is to place our team at a significant disadvantage with that list which is totally useless. We have to resort to using an outdated list that is five years old given to me in the internal elections of 2015.”

He said since August 11 it was claimed that the general secretary in keeping with the party’s constitution had stepped down, there was no declaration made by the party as to the identity of the new general secretary was and there was no information forthcoming.

Bharath said his team had also been asking for representation on the elections committee for transparency and the perception of non-bias. He said that having a committee allegedly hand-selected by the political leader who was also contesting the election was a conflict of interest.

He said another significant issue he wanted to raise was that several constituency executives, councillors and MPs had offered endorsements on behalf of the political leader and her slate and many of these persons were going to be involved in the electoral process as polling agents, clerks and presiding officers.