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Don’t Take Kamla’s Statement Out Of Context

Don’t take Kamla’s statement out of context as she is only defending UNC members. – Nicholas Morris
International Relations Officer
United National Congress.

As a present member of the UNC National executive, it is no secret that in 2010 as the Youth Officer for the Constituency of Arima I publicly supported Mr. Panday for the Leadership of the UNC when he was challenged by the Hon. Kamla Persad Bissessar. So committed was I to Basdeo Panday in 2010, that I even declined a direct offer from Ms. Persad-Bissessar to speak on her platform.

I make this admission not just to show that Kamla’s leadership has been one which has welcomed all no matter their past political decisions for the sake of nation-building, but to say that as a former supporter who stuck with Mr. Panday until the very end in 2010, we cannot take Kamla Persad Bissessar’s recent statement on “sheep” out of context without analyzing the true meaning. I make this admission because I have functioned faithfully under both leaders and I have seen the growth of the UNC. While we will always be grateful for Mr. Panday’s work, we can never discount the defining development of the UNC under Kamla Persad Bissessar.

Some have come forward to “defend the legacy” of Mr Panday despite the fact that the Kamla’s statement never encroached on such. However, actions are more potent than words, and the reality is, Kamla Persad Bissessar has protected the legacy of Mr. Panday more than any other entity in this nation by keeping the UNC alive, expanding the success of the UNC and ensuring the UNC develops into national political institution.

The UNC Leader’s statement must not be viewed as a “biff” against Mr. Panday because it was her simply reiterating the fact on how far we have come as a party where members do not only have a space in a meeting but they have an opportunity to serve in a robust party machinery which now facilitates functioning executives in every constituency, inclusive of PNM strongholds. It is simply a reminder that now more than ever, and more than any other party, members of the UNC, supporters of the UNC as well as ordinary citizens have ease of access to the Leadership, to our Parliamentary arm and any decision-making body of the UNC.

Upon becoming Leader of the UNC, Kamla Persad Bissessar ensured that there were no “Panday supporters” and “Kamla Supporters” as she created a UNC and government which included all. In her first Cabinet she ensured Dr. Gopeesingh, Vasant Bharath, Chandresh Sharma and others who were on the Panday slate of 2010 were given the chance to serve our party and nation. That was Kamla ensuring that the legacy of Basdeo Panday lived on in government.

Today many comment on the “preservation of Panday’s legacy” but the greatest act of protecting Panday’s legacy came in 2005 to 2007 when Kamla and many of us stood with Mr. Panday to see off the Congress of the People who were attempting to win over the UNC base.

In 2007 Kamla Persad Bissessar stood to ensure that Mr. Panday as Leader of the UNC would hold on to our party’s base while the COP went from pillar to post saying he was the problem.

In 2007 when Mr. Panday needed us as supporters the most to do as he said in his Final Rally Speech in Aranguez Savannah, “send him off in a blaze off glory”, Kamla stood there with him. In 2005 when we attended what was supposed to be a UNC congress, only to see some of the then UNC MPs who were given Political birth by Panday resign on stage to form the Congress of the People (COP), Kamla remained faithful and loyal to ensure Basdeo Panday could push on into the 2007 general election.

If there is one person who has worked to preserve Panday’s legacy it is Kamla. As a former Panday supporter of 2010, I can say that Kamla has built a UNC that has achieved the dreams of Mr Panday which include diversity, strength on the east-west corridor, offers a voice to the vulnerable and works for every sector.

Let us not be unfair, unjust or miscue Kamla’s words.

Nicholas Morris
International Relations Officer
United National Congress.

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