Prof. Ravi Chaturvedi
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MSJ rebrands for local govt polls
The Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) has re-branded its political party in order to facilitate quicker and easier identification and recognition on the ballot, as the local government election approaches next month. At an official launch on Sunday at MSJ headquarters on Circular Road, San Fernando, the party’s political leader David Abdulah introduced a new party logo, a soca-inspired MSJ jingle, and 14 candidates who will run in the October 21 elections for positions as councilors.
The atmosphere was spirited at the outdoor function, as there was a live performance of the new MSJ jingle entitled Moving with MSJ which incited dancing among the members who sported light blue shirts, the party’s official colour. The members were so moved, the song was performed two times more. Abdulah sang and danced with the group in front of his seated supporters.
Speaking afterwards, Abdulah said the candidates will eventually take office and empower their communities. He said they were not seeking office to fill their pockets, but to be agents of change. He said the people chosen to represent the MSJ were already community activists in their own right, as opposed to other parties that were “scraping the bottom of the barrel” and even going “into the gutter” to get candidates.
“The philosophy of those other parties is that they could put up a crapaud, and expect people to vote for the crapaud, on the basis of race or religion, or a green jersey and some hundred dollars in the jersey.” He said the MSJ had no jerseys or money to distribute to communities. He said during his walkabouts, the feedback was that people were fed up of ineffective representation. He said regardless of the outcome of the election, the MSJ’s move into local election was the beginning of a “virtual revolution in T&T.”
Abdulah accused the United National Congress (UNC), the People’s National Movement (PNM) and the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) of not supporting legislation that would regulate public procurement. “UNC does not want legislation that would regulate how contracts are awarded because they want to be able to give out contracts to friends and family and so on.” “None of the parties want public procurement, none of them.”
He said with proper legislation, Cabinet’s decision to wreck a fire truck at a cost of $6.8 million would not have been approved. Abdulah was referring to the costly retrieval that was approved by Cabinet for a fire truck that ran off the road in November 2012 at Blanchisseuse Road, Arima. He said none of the other political parties wanted party finance reform either.