Less than a month before the local government election, councillor for St. Augustine South/Piarco/ St. Helena, Khubal Paltoo announced that he has moved over the People’s National Movement (PNM).
The councillor said the decision was made after urgings from his burgesses to switch allegiances to the PNM.
During a council meeting at the Tunapuna Piarco Regional Corporation chamber on Tuesday, Khubal stood to make a statement of his intent to switch sides.
“There is something I want to touch on Mr. Chairman, the oath I took, is to serve the country. That oath overrides everything. I have been mandated by my burgesses, of which a few came out today, to support the People’s National Movement candidate for St Augustine South Piarco St Helena,” said Paltoo.
Paltoo then continued, “I have been mandated by my burgesses to, with your permission, come across on that side,” said Paltoo, who then picked up his nameplate, and walked around the table and took a seat on the other side much to the bemusement of UNC councilors and the delight of PNM members of the council.
Paltoo had also praised chairman of the regional corporation, Paul Leacock for his “courageous leadership” despite financial constraints faced.
Paltoo had been one of four UNC councilors in the PNM controlled regional corporation.
He had won the post by close to 3000 votes in the 2016 poll.
In a release on Tuesday evening, the UNC said it was unfortunate he took such action, noting it was mere days after another candidate was chosen by the party to contest the election for that district.
“Mr Paltoo was screened along with several other nominees for the electoral district, but the committee selected Mr Richard Rampersad to contest the seat. Mr. Rampersad brings energy, enthusiasm and commitment and we expect he will be supported by many more than the 3351 people who supported the UNC in the seat in the last local government election,” said the UNC in the release.
The PNM has not commented on Paltoo’s decision to support the party.