Former UNC MP Ramona Ramdial has called out the opposition on the legitimacy of its national executive. She has queried the fact that general secretary Dave Tancoo and PRO Anita Haynes have retained their party posts despite being MPs. Ramdial said the retention of the party posts by the MPs is contrary to UNC’s constitution
Ramdial, the former Couva North MP, made the call in a recent letter to party chairman Peter Kanhai. In recent times she has been critical of the UNC’s general election campaign and the party’s leadership.
In the letter to Kanhai, she said: “As a member of the United National Congress I write to raise with you and to get your response on a matter of utmost importance to the party and, by extension our membership.
“In doing so I believe it appropriate to draw your attention to Article 2 (vii) of the Party’s Constitution (“the Constitution”) which voices the Party’s commitment ‘To struggle against any tendency towards authoritarianism, autocracy and dictatorship and to promote a viable diffusion of centres of power and decision-making as a check against the concentration and abuse of power’.”
She added: “I believe it is the above commitment to the ‘struggle against any tendency towards authoritarianism, autocracy and dictatorship’ that guided the founders of the party to structure governance of the party in the way they did and in doing so they sought ‘to promote a viable diffusion of centres of power and decision making” whereby:
a) Under Article 18 of the Constitution the term of the Party’s National Executive (“NATEX”) is limited to two (2) years and the term of the Political Leader is limited a different term of three (3) years; and
b) Under Article 12 (A)(iv)(d), which sets up the Party’s Administrative Secretariat which includes the Party’s General Secretary and Public Relations Officer, the Constitution mandates that “...a member of Parliament shall not be eligible to be appointed to an office within the Secretariat.”
Ramdial said: “A number of serious concerns arise from the above provisions of our Constitution.”
She said these are as follows:
• Though the last election of officers of the NATEX was on November 27, 2017, the officers elected then, including the chairman have (apparently illegitimately) held on to office well beyond two years thereby violating the Party’s Constitution;
• While the party’s General Secretary, Dave Tancoo, was elected as a Member of Parliament at the August 10, 2020, general election he has held on to his party office in violation of the Constitution;
• While party’s Public Relations Officer, Anita Haynes, was also elected as a Member of Parliament at the general election she too has also held on to her party office in violation of the Constitution.
“It goes without saying, chairman, that the above violations by you, the NATEX, the General Secretary and the Public Relations Officer do not augur well for, and may even reflect negatively upon our party and its officers, bearing in mind that the party seeks to hold itself out to the national community as germination ground for a government in waiting.
“With the above concerns in mind I ask that the Party moves promptly to correct the above violations of the Constitution by taking appropriate action that can withstand scrutiny both within the party and in the eyes of all,” Ramdial said.
“As I end I believe it appropriate to state that at all times our collective actions must be guided by our Party’s motto under the Constitution, namely: WE ARE THE FUTURE.”
Kanhai and Tancoo have no responded to calls for comment.