Cabinet Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan has levelled allegations of corruption against the United National Congress (UNC)-one of the five political parties that joined forces to form the People's Partnership (PP) Government. The shocking disclosure was made by the Public Administration Minister yesterday, while responding to questions as to why she was listed as a UNC member to vote in the party's internal elections last week.
"I do not know why my name is on the list. Why isn't the UNC not taking my name off the list? You would never find that I went and applied for any card and that tells you the type of corruption going on inside the UNC. If they have a membership card for me that tells you of corruption going on inside the UNC," an irate Seepersad-Bachan said.
The UNC internal elections revised list dated March 14, obtained by Sunday Guardian, listed Seepersad-Bachan as an eligible voter on Page 22 of the document. The document listed her address as Bimtti Road, Valsayn. The San Fernando West MP who fought the 2010 general election on a Congress of the People (COP) ticket yesterday admitted that the address stated in the document is where one of her homes is situated. Her other home is located at Hubert Ranche Street, San Fernando.
It was in 2000 that allegations of voter padding involving Seepersad-Bachan surfaced. The matter was however dismissed against the MP. Not mincing words over the listing, the outraged minister waded into those responsible saying: "I was a member of the UNC before the COP was formed. That is no secret. I resigned publicly in 2006 with Mr Winston Dookeran and the former political leader Basdeo Panday was informed of this. I was a life member of the UNC. In fact, in 2000 when the first set of life cards was introduced, I was a member but I resigned.
"I find it is very strange that someone wants to question my membership in the COP. That has to be the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. "If they continue to keep my name on the UNC list I cannot go inside the Reinzi Complex and on their database system and take off my name. That is an internal problem. If they do not clean up their list that is their business. I have always said publicly that I am a COP member."
In 2010, Seepersad-Bachan was appointed a government minister in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who is also the political leader of the UNC. The MP was appointed as energy minister, however, following a Cabinet reshuffle, she was shifted to minister of public administration.
Seepersad-Bachan blanks UNC
Insisting that she severed all ties as a UNC member, Seepersad-Bachan said in 2010 when she was asked to fight the electoral seat for the UNC, she refused. She explained: "When I was asked to run for this seat, the UNC called me and asked me if I would run for the seat as a UNC member and I said no. I said I would run for the seat but as COP.
I am a foundation member of the COP. I was deputy political leader of this party-the first deputy political leader. My card number would read 007. I was the seventh member. They do not remember I was one of them that formed this party with Mr Dookeran from its inception.
It is unethical to be in one party and carry the membership of another, which is why we all resigned. I am not aware I am still a member of the UNC."