Last update: 05-Dec-2013 1:31 am
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
You are here
Baksh urges UNC, ILP to join forces
The United National Congress (UNC) and the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) must unite in order to defeat their common political enemy, the People’s National Movement (PNM). So said Public Utilities Minister Nizam Baksh yesterday as he shared his views on Monday’s local government election results. Baksh, speaking with the T&T Guardian at his Naparima constituency office, Manahambre Road, Cedar Hill, Princes Town, said now that the gruelling campaign was over, the “healing must begin.”
He said the ILP split the vote in many areas and this led to the People’s National Movement (PNM) clinching victory in many electoral districts. Now that the results are out, Baksh said, unity must be contemplated by both parties. He said such acts of unity after intense campaigning were nothing new. “In politics you always have strange bedfellows and we need to sit and chat with the people of the ILP and see if there is some kind of arrangement that could come together,” he said.
“On our own, nobody will be victorious, we are just destroying ourselves there. We need to come together and ensure that we stay together and mobilise on the ground, because all that we are doing here is for the benefit of the citizens of this country.” Yesterday, Baksh distributed 19 grants to Hindu mandirs and organisations in his constituency for their Divali celebrations. He said such acts helped to build communities.
He said now was the time for the healing between the UNC and the ILP to begin and it should start in the Chaguanas Borough Corporation, where there was a stalemate.
On Monday, the UNC captured three seats and so too did the PNM. The ILP won the two remaining seats, which meant there was no clear winner. The minister said unity was necessary to ensure the PNM did not gain control of the corporation, and the ILP and the UNC should patch up their differences to ensure the PNM did not add the corporation to its tally of eight corporations.
“That is the first case we have to address...We have to take a decision because if we fail to do that I could see the PNM winning control because of the new situation, in terms of the aldermen and so on,” he said. “They could have the greater number but if the UNC and the ILP come together then we could outnumber the PNM in that area.”
He believed such a compromise would be the first step to the parties mending fences and unity was key to keeping the PNM away from gaining power in 2015. When ILP interim leader Jack Warner announced the possible return of former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, supporters were turned off, he felt. The minister said if the parties did sit and discuss an arrangement for the Chaguanas corporation, then they could look at the upcoming St Joseph by-election.
“It depends on the mood at the time and whether we all see it in the way that I am seeing. Once those key players see it that way, certainly we could have a compromise. I always believe that in the interest of the nation, yes it could be done,” he said. He expects that later this week the UNC will spend some time reviewing the election outcome and do a post-mortem on the results.
Baksh said he was pleased with the results which showed, in his view, that the party’s base support was rallying around the UNC once again. He said a lot of work needs to be done by the Congress of the People (COP) to whip up support.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.