Kamla Persad-Bissessar has confessed that she has a weakness–blindly supporting Basdeo Panday for too long. She has also revealed suspicions about recent meetings incumbent UNC leader Panday held with Ramesh Maharaj, and another one with Prime Minister Patrick Manning. She said it appeared that someone was attempting to stay out of jail. Persad-Bissessar is one of two candidates challenging Panday for the post of United National Congress (UNC) political leader in tomorrow's UNC internal elections. Also fighting for the position of UNC political leader is Maharaj. "With due respect to Mr Panday, he says I have a weakness. Let me admit, I really do have a weakness. I do have a weakness," Persad-Bissessar said. "My weakness has been that I have supported Mr Panday blindly for too long."
"I have to choose my country and my people and my children and my nation before I can choose my friendship to Mr Panday because that friendship will never take us into government. "Mr Panday, I have a weakness, sir. I care about you. You helped me. You taught me. I was a student and (I) learned at your feet. I learned from you as my guru and I learned well, but the time has come now–I am a student, yes–and I am ready to graduate now." Persad-Bissessar was speaking on Thursday night at the Kamla for Leader public meeting at Tunapuna Hindu School. She was responding to repeated public references from Panday about her alleged weakness. She also responded to confirmations from Panday that he "bounced up" Maharaj on January 19 at the office of UNC MP Kelvin Ramnath, who is the UNC membership committee chairman.
She cautioned that "another deal is in the making, another deal is being brokered" and "the only ones who can stop this from happening" were eligible voters in the UNC internal elections. "When you see the history of Mr File-man, the done-deal man, he has become and has been an agent of the PNM. He is now meeting Mr Panday in secret," Persad-Bissessar said. "And Mr Panday has met with the PNM as well. We do not know what happened in those meetings but what was that meeting about too? So secret meeting with Ramesh and secret meeting with the PNM," Persad-Bissessar said. "When you see that happening, somebody (is) blackmailing somebody because that somebody want(s) to stay out of jail. Somebody want(s) to stay out of jail. But if they want to stay out of jail, you go to court and prove your innocence. "But, do not keep our people in opposition because of your own selfish reasons. Do not do it... Monday morning is court case again, you know... go and prove your innocence."
She reminded supporters that Maharaj mashed up the UNC in 2001 and formed his own political organisation–Team Unity after he "could not get his way." She said Manning credited Maharaj for providing photographs of Panday's controversial Kensington apartment in London, which was one of a series of events that resulted in the UNC being removed from government. She quoted from newspapers articles– October 4, 2001–about Maharaj meeting Manning in a "midnight deal." She said: "If there was any single reason to put these two gentlemen out of the leadership, this is it...The last time two of them fight, we went out of government. And so when you see them joining up again, you know it is nothing good coming out of this. "Every time these two men have come together, what (has) happened? The UNC mash up."