The trinidad Guardian / Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar didn’t use UNC’s Monday Night Forum to campaign for the leadership since her own campaign was to be launched last night (Thur) in Princes Town, UNC chairman David Lee has said.

UNC leadership contender Vasant Bharath recently wrote her, accusing her of using the forum to campaign.

She didn’t reply to T&T Guardian calls yesterday. But Lee pointed out that she had merely replied at the forum to criticisms of her made by Bharath. Lee said her campaign meetings will continue in Tunapuna tomorrow (Saturday) and next week. Lee also said UNC MP Christine Newallo-Hosein’s bid to contest the leadership meant “democracy is alive and well in UNC.”

Yesterday, Bharath was non -committal on the fact that he’d have competition for the leadership post from Newallo-Hosein. In the 2015 leadership contest Persad-Bissessar, with 18,000 votes, sailed past contender Roodal Moonilal- who got 1,800– and Bharath who came last with 1,500 votes. Asked if he felt the same thing might recur in another three-way race, Bharath said, “It is what it is. I’m happy for Christine since she knows she needs to make a difference.”

“This augers well for democracy in the party. More people who are unhappy in the party should get involved in running it. It doesn’t bother me that I might lose, it shows the level of dissatisfaction in the UNC that’s causing people to have a voice,” he said.

Asked if he might decide to contest the chairmanship instead of the leadership, Bharath said he had no intention of contesting any other post but the political leadership. Nomination papers will be filed next week. Bharath yesterday wrote Persad-Bissessar challenging her to a televised debate.

“At your earliest convenience, to be televised, ‘manos y manos’ to discuss important matters.”

These included plans for rebuilding the UNC and regaining public trust, lessons learnt following “five successive national defeats and converting that knowledge into victory at the next election, “engaging other political participants outside of UNC’s base and plans for restructuring the T&T economy,

Bharath added, “In the event your schedule doesn’t permit televised debate, I’d be happy to examine these critical issues, with equal time afforded us both, at your next Monday Night Forum carded to be held at St Helena Hindu Primary School on Monday 13.”

On the invitation, Lee responded, “But didn’t he just complain Mrs Persad- Bissessar was using the forum to campaign, so why does he want to use it that way?”


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