Saturday, March 16, 2013

Letter: CLUB 88 - Remembering a political milestone

File: Basdeo Panday - founding leader of the UNC
Twenty five years ago today (March 16, 1988) a group of us launched the Caucus for Love Unity and Brotherhood (CLUB88) at the Reinzi Complex in Couva.

This was partly due to what was happening in the national Alliance for Reconsruction government led by then Prime Minister, ANR Robinson.

It was this group that would mobilize the people with at intense campaign. In the seven months that followed Basdeo Panday, Kelvin Ramnath, John Humphrey, Trevor Sudama, Raymond Pallackdharrysingh and Govindra Roopnarine mounted the platform for as many as 57 public meetings as we took our story to the rank and file.

These public meetings were supplemented by 107 house meetings and numerous other activities, which were essential of keeping faith with the people.

All these eventuated in CLUB 88's famous Aranguez rally on October 16,1988 where the over 20,000 supporters gave us the "Aranguez Mandate" to form a new political party.

The party is of course the United National Congress (UNC), which was formalized and launched at the National Stadium on April 30, 1989.

I had the honour of being chairman of CLUB 88 and of the United National Congress at the time of its launch.

Although, I will be the first to concede that we owe it to ouselves to live in the present and plan for the future, I do also believe that it is always good to remember the past from which we can always learn important lessons.

It was a privilege to work with the founders and the activists who gave their all to ensure success, and to continue the sruggle for equality.

On the 25th anniversary of CLUB 88, I salute all who were part of this significant political movement. 

I salute Panday who led us and the passion of Humphrey, Sudama and countless others. I also wish to salute one whose sacrifice will never be forgotten and who, sadly, left us not too long ago. I speak of course of Kelvin Ramnath who is no longer with us but whose contribution was invaluable.

For my part, I am happy that I was part of something good.

Dr Rampersad Parasram

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai