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Kamla Not Hurt By Gary’s Attack

Kamla not hurt by Gary’s attack
‘UNC checking all third parties to assess them’

United National Congress (UNC) leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says there are many groups that make up the third constituency and her party intends to work with all—and that is why the UNC is doing assessments of their various capabilities and strengths “to determine where best we can complement each other”.

Persad-Bissessar said this yesterday, following the recent publicly-manifested rift with National Transformation Alliance (NTA) leader Gary Griffith.

After Persad-Bissessar’s warnings on Monday to smaller parties that they will have to carry their weight in any arrangement with UNC, and that her members won’t be disrespected, Griffith shot back, blaming issues on deputy leader Jearlean John. Other NTA supporters subsequently posted social media claims that UNC’s 300,000 membership was attained via NTA’s “bridge”.

Jack Warner, who’s been a UNC frontliner since 2023 after reuniting with Persad-Bissessar (after ten years of not talking to each other), said on Wednesday he’s offering to mediate to heal the rift, which he feels isn’t beyond repair.

It’s understood Warner spoke to Griffith on Wednesday and Persad-Bissessar yesterday, and hopes to have a meeting with her on Monday.

Yesterday, Warner declined comment on any conversations or schedule.

But he said, “The last time the PNM had a “three-peat” (three terms) was 1971, 1976 and 1981 and T&T remembers the suffering in that time. Therefore, I’ll do anything to bring peace to the warring parties and to have one unified force for the election and I’ll also try to bring all other parties together for this one force.”

Persad-Bissessar was asked if she’d accept Warner’s mediation offer, if there was any outreach by Griffith since the issue broke and if the UNC would talk wit other parties such as PEP and others.

Persad-Bissessar didn’t comment specifically on Warner and Griffith, but said “The UNC will speak to any party, stakeholder, individual or group that would like to work with us in the upcoming general election. We’re open to working with anyone.”

On her view of the entire situation that’s occurred, Persad-Bissessar, said, “The party is actively communicating with many entities at this time. Everything will be sorted in time. That is just the nature of politics anywhere in the world, same as any family or organisation, we all have different opinions and views at times but that doesn’t mean we can’t find common ground. That’s just the reality of life.”

However, she said she wasn’t hurt or disappointed by Griffith’s remarks.

“Not at all. I don’t take anything personally when it comes to work-related matters. I think my record in public life shows that I am very forgiving,” Persad-Bissessar said.

“We’re all human and, therefore, we are fallible. A forgiving mind and loving heart are key to a happy and successful life…”

Meanwhile, UNC executive member Nicholas Morris (International Relations Officer), who supported party founder Basdeo Panday against Persad-Bissessar for UNC leadership in 2010, has defended Persad-Bissessar against criticism of her statement on the treatment of members.

On Monday, Persad-Bissessar said UNC members were treated like “sheep” during the Panday period. She didn’t specify or give details.

UNC MP Rushton Paray subsequently took to social media to say Panday’s legacy should be protected.

“Stand up to those who mock Panday!” Paray said.

But Persad-Bissessar said she never mocked Panday.

Morris said he was so committed to Panday in 2010 that he declined a direct offer from Persad-Bissessar to speak on her platform.

“As a former supporter who stuck with Mr Panday until the very end in 2010, we cannot take Mrs Persad-Bissessar’s recent statement on ‘sheep’ out of context without analysing the true meaning. I’ve functioned faithfully under both leaders and seen UNC’s growth.

“While we’ll always be grateful for Mr Panday’s work, we can never discount the defining development of the UNC under Mrs Persad-Bissessar.”

Morris said some members were calling for the defence of Panday’s legacy’ despite the fact that Persad-Bissessar’s statement never encroached on such.

“If there’s one person who’s worked to preserve Panday’s legacy, it’s Kamla, by keeping the UNC alive, expanding its success and ensuring UNC develops into a national political institution. Her statement must not be viewed as a ‘buff’ against Mr Panday, because it was her simply reiterating how far we’ve come as a party.”

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