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Panday’s nephew to launch party for local govt polls
James Mohammed, a nephew of former prime minister Basdeo Panday, is poised to launch a new political party to contest the upcoming local government elections and challenge the United National Congress (UNC) for control of its “safe” regional corporations. He unsuccessfully contested the position of deputy political leader of the UNC in its internal elections earlier this year on the Generation Next slate, to which Panday was an adviser.
Mohammed is now president of the Movement for Democracy and Constitutional Reform, a new political pressure group which he formed together with other Generation Next activists. Speaking with the T&T Guardian yesterday, he said Panday was aware of the plans to launch the party. However, he added, Panday was not playing an active role in the movement at this time. “Mr Panday advised us (in the elections). After the elections he told us we have to start the work. He did his best and he gave us his endorsement and we were privileged to have that,” he said. Mohammed said the movement is a newly-formed group which he was co-leading with Generation Next candidate Nigel Mahabir, who ran for research officer.
He said he intended to launch the party formally with an eye on the upcoming local government elections. He added: “We are a political pressure group and we will be launching our party very soon, closer to the local government elections. “We intend to fight the traditional safe UNC corporations, because that is where most of the people have not been getting representation from the UNC councillors,” he said. On Sunday, Mohammed joined with protesting Sunrees Branch Road, Penal, residents who were calling for basic amenities in their village, such as pipeborne water, electricity and proper drainage. He said the protest was about the neglect residents in UNC-controlled areas were facing. Mohammed said he already had 25 candidates willing to contest the elections and the movement would contest electoral districts in the Princes Town, Penal/Debe, Siparia, Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo and Tunapuna Regional corporations. Two Generation Next candidates, he added, have expressed interest in contesting districts under the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation. “We expect to make an impact, especially in those corporations. We are quite certain we will make an impact,” Mohammed added.
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