Attorney Larry Lalla says it’s time to move on from the United National Congress’ 2020 leadership election defeat, since there must now be a meeting of the minds to find common ground to take T&T forward out of its many difficulties.
He indicated this yesterday after his attendance at last Friday’s UNC’s Family Day sparked queries, as Lalla was among Vasant Bharath’s team in his (unsuccessful) 2020 leadership battle with leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
UNC’s Devant Maharaj, who’d supported Bharath, has slammed the Family Day attendance by Lalla and others, whom he said had been critical of Persad-Bissessar’s leadership.
Defending his attendance, Lalla said he’d never stopped liaising with the UNC.
“At the end of the day, I’m a member—I never ceased being a member,” he said.
“Yes I opposed Persad-Bissessar in previous elections (with Bharath) but the elections are over. It’s now time to move on. I have nothing personal against any person in any previous election. Therefore, if I’m invited to a function and I have time, I’ll attend regardless of what anyone thinks of me, because at the end of the day, the country comes first.”
He added, “There are so many difficulties facing T&T presently—from crime and the economy to youths leaving in droves as they don’t see hope for the future. It’s important where possible for there to be a meeting of the minds to find a way to take T&T forward.
“To achieve that and find common ground to do so, I’m not going to close my mind on this to anyone in my party. I always believe there are good people in both parties and if there are people with good ideas in the PNM—of which I’m sure there are —we have to listen to them as well, because at the end of the day we all have to live here together and have to find a way to take T&T forward together.”
On vitriolic personal attacks on the political landscape, Lalla said he didn’t see how any of those helped with T&T’s issues. He refused comment on UNC Senator Anil Roberts’ alleged comments on the Prime Minister’s wife but said it’s important to raise the level of discussions in T&T .
On crime, Lalla added, “It appears there are hired hitmen roaming T&T. That’s a serious issue for which the Police Commissioner must tell T&T what his plans are.”
Lalla said he wasn’t filing nomination for Local Government elections but was prepared to assist the UNC in any way possible. As for general election nomination, he said, “Why talk about that - that’s so far away.”
Another attendee, ex-minister Kevin Ramnarine said, “Political parties, like all organisations, bond in different ways. The Debe event was very positive and the atmosphere was welcoming.”
Attorney Kiel Taklalsingh said he was invited.
“I attended, I had a good time. Whoever didn’t attend missed out on some good curry duck and chow.”
Among the handful of UNC Parliamentarians who were absent, Mayaro MP Rushton Paray said he’d planned to attend but his elderly father was ill in hospital.
”He is 75—I had to be with him,” he said.
Cumuto Manzanilla MP Dr Rai Ragbir said his sister had a stroke.
“She is like a second mother to us and it was a second stroke so we’re watching the situation carefully. She’s walking with a cane,” Ragbir said.