UNC MPs Ganga Singh, Fuad Khan and Fazal Karim were missing from last Sunday’s UNC anniversary celebrations—as well as UNC founder Basdeo Panday who had been invited to the event.
UNC deputy leader David Lee confirmed the situation yesterday following the Couva celebration.
During UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s anniversary address, she’d alluded to Panday and others who helped build UNC.
She’d said, “This is our time to lead by example and to honour our founding fathers and our first leader, Basdeo Panday and all those who have laboured over the last 30 years on behalf of our party.”
Lee said Panday had been invited, but there’d been no response from him. He said the party had also invited past MPs and officials.
But Lee couldn’t say how many of those accepted the invitation, though he noted former chairman Dr Rampersad Parasram did.
Panday didn’t reply to repeated calls yesterday. Nor was there reply from his daughter Mickela Panday’s cell phone.
Lee confirmed Singh, Khan and Karim had also missed the event since they were overseas.
Singh said he’d been doing a complete medical examination. Khan said he’d been attending a medical expo in Las Vegas. Karim did not answer.
Khan said, “From what I hear the celebration was a success, so it’s now on to victory—no I’m not being sarcastic. Proposed changes (by the EBC) for Local Government areas will make it harder for us in my area, but not for general elections.”
“However, I do feel we should have more forums where UNC MPs can report to the public on what they’ve done. The Monday Night Forums don’t have room for that.”
Khan also said he’d noted that former PP Minister Vasant Bharath last week started outreach meetings. “I wish him well. Currently, our leadership has made a decision on not talking to anyone (about linking) so he has his place. I see COP leader Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan has also started to make some noise and that means another party (COP) is raising its head.”
Khan said he’d attend any meeting Bharath chose to invite him to. He said, “He’s my friend, I’d talk on his platform. There’s no reason I shouldn’t since he’s not forming a party and I’m not changing sides from UNC.”
Yesterday, Bharath said he didn’t attend Sunday’s UNC event or see it on television.
Last Friday, in San Fernando, Bharath launched a series of outreach meetings to ascertain how people felt about the political landscape. Bharath said yesterday he’d invited 40 people but 140 turned up and he was very encouraged by the response. He and former PNMite Louis Lee Sing addressed the gathering.
Bharath is expected to meet people in St Augustine next week. Bharath, non-committal on forming any entity, said as meetings continue over coming months, he and others involved in the effort would “see where” the effort is heading.
Lee said the UNC had reserved a seat in its VIP tent last Sunday for Bharath, but he didn’t show. “We read on the Guardian where he said he might have attended so we had a seat for him, but he didn’t come.”
Lee said he’d received an invitation to Bharath’s meeting last Friday but didn’t attend it, “No, I don’t think his meetings will make a dent in (UNC’s support),” Lee added.