Two UNC MPs who’ve indicated they won’t be contesting general elections—Suruj Rambachan and Fuad Khan—have both said former PP minister Vasant Bharath should be involved in the UNC at this point.
They’ve also recommended that UNC’s leadership place candidates in the “field” early especially in marginal seats.
UNC officials meet next week to start election planning. The party has started screening nominees for PNM-held constituencies. Nomination for UNC-held areas is open.
Tabaquite MP Suruj Rambachan, who announced his impending retirement from politics last year, says he personally believes Bharat has a role to play in UNC’s future.
“I worked with him and consider him a very bright man, a strategic thinker, I just want the best people to come forward,” Rambachan added Friday.
Rambachan responded on the “cold shoulder” Bharath received from UNC’s leadership when he began lobbying for a coming together of elements in 2017:
“If you really want to serve T&T, you mustn’t discard the best talent you have because T&T’s woefully short of talent. UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has the capability to unite TT as she did in 2010.
“UNC’s a party and everyone’s welcome. But people must adhere to UNC’s principles and people must also subjugate their individual egos for the common good.”
He, however, said he didn’t have much faith in COP leader Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan whom he didn’t see as “a harmoniser “and also didn’t see MSJ leader David Abdulah as “a serious politician”.
Rambachan recommended, “The political leader must place candidates in the marginal seats in the shortest possible time and give the electorate the opportunity to judge them.
“The UNC must continue to present a clear vision and policies to turn TT away from where it’s headed. She knows what has to be done and must proceed with strength. She did very well in how she fought back in LG elections and TT’s willing to give her another chance. But TT’s also waiting to see the composition of the team she’ll present.”
He thinks Persad-Bissessar shouldn’t take very long to decide on the team, “In the process, some people might be hurt and disappointed but that’s the nature of the game of politics.”
Rambachan said he wasn’t interested in a party post or ambassadorship (if UNC wins) but wanted to advise as an elder statesman.
San Juan /Barataria MP Fuad Khan, who’s also hinted broadly he won’t contest, also said, “You need people like Vasant in the East-West corridor to return to the party. You need a team that’s familiar with Corridor politics. This also needs the assistance of Jack Warner and people strong enough to win non-aligned voters. There are plenty among the youths.
“You also need a think tank approach. We currently have only party reps and one of two people on the fringes—but we need all hands on deck. It’s also time for people to approach UNC’s leadership to join rather than wait for her to call.”
Khan suggested UNC name candidates early particularly in 10 seats he sees as marginal. While Khan agreed candidates should comprise a mixture of age and youth, he added, “I wouldn’t estimate how much of the incumbent team should be changed since it was this strong team which attacked PNM all this term, bringing PNM to its knees. So you have to be careful in how you manoeuvre players.”
“This will be a terrible year for the politicians and the people. The former will be at each other’s throats and the latter will suffer because of the economy and crime.”