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Mickela gets support for new party

Published: 
Monday, May 21, 2018
Standing room only at Panday forum
Former prime minister Basdeo Panday, left, and former Port-of-Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing after the open forum hosted by Mickela Panday at Gaston Courts, Gaston Street, Lange Park, Chaguanas yesterday. PICTURE ABRAHAM DIAZ

“The consensus is clear!”

That was the pronouncement from Dr Ronald Roopnarine, chairman of yesterday’s meeting by the Panday family and supporters to discuss formation of a new political party.

Roopnarine made the declaration after hearing a loud “Yes!” from a large cross-section of attendees at the meeting after the question was put to them at the climax of the session at Gaston Court, Chaguanas.

He confirmed that moves will be made in the coming weeks by former UNC MP Mickela Panday and her supporters to form the party.

“We’ve received the mandate from the floor and we shall be acting in this regard,” he said.

However, not all of the people who packed the Gaston Court auditorium, including many past supporters of the PNM, UNC and COP, supported the plan for a new political party. Some, like ex-PNMite Louis Lee Sing, urged Panday to do ground work across T&T first and get views.

However, Roopnarine said: “While there were some with alternative views, we have to go with the majority view. In terms of democracy, the majority spoke and said yes.”

The Gaston Court auditorium, where there was standing room only at the height of the event, was decorated with posters with the words It’s Time and a photo of Panday.

Her father, UNC founder and former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday, attended the event and was the centre of attention, with many speakers paying tribute to him but he did not address the gathering.

Notable among the crowds were UNC Chaguanas West MP Ganga Singh, who was dressed in yellow, suspended PNM activist Harry Ragoonanan, well known PNMite Dane Wilson, New National Vision political leader Fuad Abu Bakr, former NAR Finance Minister Selby Wilson and former UNC MPs Adesh Nanan, John Humphrey Subhas Panday and Carlos John. Westmoorings businessman Rocky Garcia, Venezuela-born activist Yesenia Gonzales, UNC’s Brian Stone, COP’s Ghassan Yousef and hairdresser and animal rights activist Jowelle de Souza were also in the crowd.

Roopnarine, a UWI lecturer said Panday and her supporters are concerned about T&T’s current “chaotic direction” and plan to chart a path forward in unity.

In her address, Panday listed ills plaguing T&T, including hopelessness among young people. She said political parties aren’t formed by a select group of people, so it was decided to do something different and give people an opportunity to talk.

“Your response here has reinforced that there is hope for Trinidad and Tobago but it takes hard work, determination and genuine interest in country. Today the decision is up to you. You must decide. The time is now to inject adrenaline into the political bloodstream. I feel we’re in the majority.”

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