Pundit Satyanana Maharaj, spiritual leader of the Aranguez Satya Anand Ashram, has called on United National Congress leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar to consider reaching out to the voices within the party who are calling for her resignation to try and reach a consensus to rebuild the party.
Maharaj stated this in a letter to Persad-Bissessar yesterday, which he said was acknowledged by Persad-Bissessar.
Maharaj’s letter follows a series of concerns on her leadership raised since last Monday’s General Election which the UNC lost to the People’s National Movement.
UNC stalwarts Fuad Khan, Devant Maharaj and Vasant Bharath have said Persad-Bissessar should step down. Several MPs who were replaced ahead of the election—including Fazal Karim, Ramona Ramdial, Christine Newallo-Hosein—have also said introspection is needed in the party. But several of the new MPs elected in Monday election have issued statements supporting Persad-Bissessar.
However, expert analyst Dr Winford James and former public service head Reginald Dumas have also said she should resign according to the Westminster system T&T follows and analyst Dr Bishnu Ragoonath said there are decisions to make.
Yesterday in his letter, which he sent to the media, Maharaj said, “Dear leader, the results of the 2020 General Elections, though not yet officially declared, is clearly pointing to the fact that the People’s National Movement has won the elections. The widespread difference of votes between the UNC and PNM in the five seats which is being recounted will not change the results given in the public domain. For better or worse, the running of this country now belongs to Dr Rowley and the PNM.”
He added, “The result has disappointed and hurt many thousands of UNC members and supporters who were expecting a UNC government. This was an election that many thought that the UNC could not lose.”
He thanked Persad-Bissessar for leading the party over the last ten-plus years but said she could not look past the disenchantment.
“I respectfully recommend for your consideration that you reach out to the discordant voices within the UNC and meet with all parties and attempt to reach a consensus to rebuild the party and heal all who have been hurt in the process,” Maharaj said.
“The easiest thing will be to dismiss and ignore those calling on you to step down. I urge that you rise above this and instead take the high ground and call for all to come and speak with you directly. You have always been open to dialogue, I humbly remind you that your greatest legacy lies ahead of you not behind.”
Recently also, attorney Kelvin Ramkissoon—a member of UNC’s legal team—stated in a post that he didn’t want to watch a news conference the UNC had that day and in a proper democracy when a leader loses election, the proper thing is done.
“They don’t hold on—that is the essence of the Westminister system,” Ramkissoon said.
Ramkissoon said the leader knows that and the question was not who would take over, since that should be left to those who constitute the entity. He advocated “moving on with dignity while you still have it.”