The election of Doodnath Mayrhoo as Siparia’s first Mayor has resulted in the resignations of two members from the UNC’s Fyzabad and La Brea constituency executives.
Mayrhoo, a boisterous character who has been at the forefront of national protests for roads and water, was elected as Mayor without opposition after serving the UNC for thirty years.
All six UNC councillors as well as two UNC Aldermen voted for Mayrhoo, while three PNM councillors and two PNM aldermen abstained from the vote.
A party source told Guardian Media that chairman of the Fyzabad executive and councillor for Siparia/West Fyzabad Jason Ali was not happy with Mayrhoo being the Mayor as Ali believed he was a favourite candidate for the post.
However, Mayrhoo made a strong lobby along with Cedros councillor Shankar Teelucksingh both of whom were sworn in as Mayor and Deputy Mayor on Wednesday.
Their positions were supported by Oropouche West MP Davendranath Tancoo and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
In a WhatsApp message shared with Guardian Media from a party source, who did not wish to be named, Ali purportedly wrote: “I, Jason Ali hereby resign as chairman of the Fyzabad executive.”
Another message read: “Tell the Mayor to come and try to win Siparia West Fyzabad.”
Mon Desir councillor Deryck Collin Bowrin who felt sidelined by the party purportedly wrote on the same chat: “I thank everyone for their advice and criticisms. God bless you all. So I humbly resign from the post of PRO for La Brea.”
Guardian Media reached out to Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, councillors Ali, Bowrin, Fyzabad MP Lackram Bodoe and Mayor Doodnath Mayrhoo for a comment, but there was no response.
However, Ali’s resignation was also made public by UNC activist Marsha Walker who recently resigned as the party’s Diego Martin West coordinator.
On her Facebook page, she posted an unsigned letter purportedly from Ali which read: “It is with a great degree of regret and a deep sense of betrayal that we the undersigned members of the Fyzabad Constituency Executive tender our resignation with immediate effect. This has been the result of the utter disregard and contempt imposed on us by the choice and installation of the Alderman and Mayor of the Siparia Borough Corporation on the 30th of August, 2023.”
The letter further stated: “It is our firm belief that rather than being a disappointment and a tool to a few in performing our duties, we wish to serve the people and our great party. If this cannot be realised in the present situation it leaves us with no other resolve but to resign.”
Sending a message to the Opposition leader about the issue, Walker took to Facebook and posted: “Email after email. Resignation after Resignation. When will you take stock? How can you be preaching unity when the party has never been so divided? Love is an action word. Right now all we feel is disrespect.”
Walker added: “This is why no amount of good policy talk on the platform will work. The message we’re working hard to craft is being lost on the messenger. No one trusts you anymore. If you care about the country, call elections now.”
She also responded to Persad-Bissessar’s interview with Guardian Media where she said she felt sorry for Walker and wished her all the best.
“Feel sorry for me? You have the whole country suffering. We cannot beat the worst-performing Government because of you. You should feel sorry for the nation. Positions are granted based on who promises to keep you in power,” Walker wrote.
During an interview on Wednesday, Persad-Bissessar responded to Walker’s call for her to step aside as UNC leader by thanking Walker for her kindness and wishing her all the best. Persad-Bissessar also stated she had no intention of stepping down.