UNC Ready and willing’ to cooperate, says Kamla
OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says the United National Congress (UNC) is ‘ready, willing and able’ to collaborate with the Government any day and time to tackle crime in this country.
However, the former prime minister lamented that collaborative efforts between the Government and Opposition in the past yielded nothing.
‘We have called all the time for collaboration, that has been our mantra, let’s work together. Numerous times we have asked the Government to meet with them, they met once or twice many moons ago and took nothing on board that we would have said. We are willing and able to collaborate with the Government,’ she said.
She was speaking to the media at the Red House yesterday following the ceremonial opening of Parliament where President Christine Kangaloo, in delivering her maiden speech, called for collaboration on the crime fight.
Persad-Bissessar said that all the things the President spoke about are in the Government’s hands, adding it is Government’s first duty is to ensure the safety and security of citizens and Government has failed in this regard.
She reiterated that the Opposition has repeatedly called for collaboration but ‘they refuse to meet and they say we are the obstructionists. We are willing at any time to meet with Government a collaborative effort to bring back safety and security in the country. We are willing and able’.
Persad-Bissessar knocked the Government’s three-day retreat at CrewsInn, saying that changes are inevitable because their ‘backs are against the wall’ but reshuffling a ‘pack of jokers’ will bring about no meaningful change.
National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds must go and so too must the entire Keith Rowley-led PNM, she said. ‘When they go into retreat, don’t come back, they should all go. I can’t see any change they can make at this time.’ she said as she declared that the UNC is preparing to return to Government. The PNM Government is a ‘minority Government’, both in Tobago and in Trinidad, she added.
Persad-Bissessar said further that the UNC analysed the local government election results and found that the votes were favourable to the party in ten ‘battleground’ constituencies, including St Joseph, San Fernando and Tunapuna.
Good luck, President
She also criticised the President saying she missed a ‘golden opportunity’ to speak on issues such as transparency and accountability.
‘I felt the President missed a golden opportunity today and sounded really like an apologist in defence of the PNM Government,’ she said as she wished Kangaloo ‘good luck’.
She said it felt like the President was apologising for the failure of the PNM MPs and trying to get public sympathy for them as their ‘job is so hard’ and they have to do so many things including plumbing for constituents.
‘I don’t know about any MP doing plumbing but we do help our constituents, that’s our job,’ she said.
Persad-Bissessar said Kangaloo was Senate President for years and she did not try to implement the things she spoke about in her speech and she did not collaborate in her previous office but used her office to shut down speakers.
She said the Opposition looks forward to a ‘robust’ parliamentary session.
Persad-Bissessar said she believes the Government will not reconvene the Parliament until Budget day and the earliest will be October 2.