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Bas set to sleep with devil again
Former UNC leader Basdeo Panday, who has denied any “link-up” among himself, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj and Jack Warner, will start touring communities from January to promote his constitutional reform campaign. “And I’ve invited everyone who’s interested to join this,” Panday added.
On whether his onetime legendary position of being prepared to “sleep with the devil to remove the People’s National Movement” now applies to the People’s Partnership government, Panday said, “I’m prepared to do anything and everything to ensure my country is a better place to live in ... the devil I slept with is now very ill and I don’t think there are any more devils to be slept with.”
Panday was asked about his appearance at last weekend’s sugar union platform alongside Maharaj and Warner, both onetime allies who subsequently became foes, though the two have now appeared together.
Panday fell out with Maharaj in 2002, leading to the UNC government’s loss of power. Panday linked up with Warner subsequently, but Warner later fell out with him and allied with Maharaj and MP Winston “Gypsy” Peters in the 2009 “Ramjack” vehicle to lobby against Panday’s leadership. In October, during local government campaigning, however, Warner announced “Ramjack” was coming back.
Panday’s television show has featured Maharaj and Warner in recent months, among other politicians. Panday has also said he wanted to contest the UNC chairmanship in the party’s 2014 internal polls. On last weekend’s platform, Panday urged former sugar workers to “take back their party”and blasted the Government.
On Tuesday, UNC officials said there had been talks a few months ago about Panday’s contesting an executive post and/or having one of his relatives brought into Government but no commitment was made. They said that’s now out following Panday’s appearance alongside Maharaj and Warner.
Asked if he still intends to contest the party chairmanship yesterday, Panday said, “I said I’d been inundated with calls to contest, and would if calls are widespread enough and I received assurance of free, fair elections. I haven’t heard anything (on the assurances). I won’t contest a situation in which the results are known beforehand.”
Asked about Maharaj and Warner, he said, “I don’t know of any link-up. I was invited to do the feature address by my former union, which organised Sunday’s event. I’ve no control over other speaker or guests. Maharaj spoke on farmers’ issues and Warner turned up.”
On the perception the three were now “back together” and whether they would be appearing together again, Panday said, “Back together for what? I’ve indicated I’ll pursue my constitutional reform campaign via my foundation, which I’ll take to communities from January, and I’ve invited everyone to join this. “I can’t comment on any further meeting unless invited by the union again. I don’t have a spiteful bone in my body and will speak to anyone who speaks to me. I have no enemies,” he added.
On whether Maharaj and Warner might be on his constitutional reform drive, Panday added, “I invited Opposition Leader Keith Rowley and the Prime Minister to come on my TV show about this and they’ve indicated willingness to in the New Year.” Asked whether he wanted to see the UNC removed from office, he said, “I’d like to see the party returned to its pristine glory and once more standing up for principles. People will determine who they want for government, many are dissatisfied with the way (UNC) is.”
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