In the face of heavy criticism for not congratulating newly-elected Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in the wake of the People's National Movement's general election victory last Monday, former prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar finally sought to do so by posting a message on her Facebook page yesterday.
Addressed as "A letter to citizens of T&T," Persad-Bissessar hailed this country's democratic process, describing it as a "truly precious thing" and adding that the result of an election was an expression of the will of the people."All persons who are elected should take those responsibilities very seriously indeed and I congratulate the hundreds of thousands of you who exercised your right to vote and made this possible.
"Again, I take this opportunity to congratulate my opponent Dr Keith Rowley on his victory. I wish him all the best for the sake of all our people," Persad-Bissessar said.
During her concession speech at her Penal constituency office, Persad-Bissessar had failed to congratulate Rowley directly.This drew criticism from some segments of society and those members of her party who are now arguing she should step aside to allow the UNC to pick a new leader and move on.
In the posting, Persad-Bissessar acknowledged that citizens deserved competent and effective governance, saying it was her my hope that the new PNM government could continue legacy of performance and delivery of the former People's Partnership government.
"Personally, I am very proud that so many promises were delivered during my government's time in office. The People's Partnership leaves our country in a far better position today than what we inherited in 2010," Persad-Bissessar said."I hope the new Prime Minister will use all that has been achieved thus far, and build on it so as to ensure that development continues."
Saying that her passion was to serve in public office, Persad-Bissessar said she wanted to make a difference because she wanted to improve lives."As the saying goes, with power comes responsibility. I held office and power and used both for the betterment of people's lives.
"For the sake of our country let us all hope Keith Rowley now follows that lead," she said.She also assured the UNC's supporters that the party would again rise and be back stronger than ever.
"We may not hold the reins of power but we will do our utmost to be patriotic citizens and an effective opposition. Rest assured the United National Congress and the People's Partnership will be back stronger than ever before," she said.
"In the meantime we will do our patriotic duty as members of the Opposition and we will prepare a programme that puts people at the centre and our country at the front."
Last week, the former PM challenged the result of the general election and asked that it be declared null and void.She also chastised the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) for what she claimed was a sudden change in the regulations, resulting in the entire process being sabotaged.
In a letter at the time, Persad-Bissessar had described the PNM's 23-18 victory as unfair and blamed the extended hour granted to citizens in Trinidad as playing a key role in what she maintained was a biased decision which brought a result against her party.