Friday, December 13, 2013

No more devils to sleep with, Panday tells Guardian newspaper

JYOTI graphic from 2010
Former Prime Minister and founding leader of the United National Congress (UNC) Basdeo Panday is on a mission to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago is a better place to live and for now there are no plans to sleep with any 'devils'.

Panday made the comments in interview with the Trinidad Guardian's Gail Alexander. He said in January he will begin touring communities to promote his constitutional reform campaign. “And I’ve invited everyone who’s interested to join this,” Panday told the paper.

At the same time he denied that there is a team that includes himself, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj and Jack Warner. And he was also clear that he doesn't see himself sleeping with the devil to achieve his goals. "The devil I slept with is now very ill and I don’t think there are any more devils to be slept with," he said.

Last weekend Panday shared a stage with Maharaj at the Rienzi Complex in a meeting organised by the All Trinidad Union to discuss problems facing the former workers of Carioni Limited.

It had all the ingredients of a political reunion with Maharaj. His former Deputy Leader Jack Warner also showed up with his two female ILP deputies to lend solidarity to the team.
The meeting on Sunday attended by Panday, Ramesh and Jack
Ramesh and two other UNC MPs - Ralph Maraj and Trevor Sudama - conspired with Patrick Manning to overthrow the Panday government shortly after the 2000 general election that the UNC won with a one-seat majority. 

That led to the 18-18 tie in the 2001 general election and the appointment of Manning as PM on Christmas Eve 2002. Ramesh was to be banished forever from the UNC but Panday and Jack brought him back in 2007 for the election that Manning won again, thanks to the refusal of the UNC leadership to unite the opposition forces, which included the Congress of the People (COP) led by former UNC leader Winston Dookeran.

Jack eventually fell out with Panday, formed a protest movement within the party along with Ramesh and Mayaro MP Winston Peters and forced Panday to call long-overdue election. But when faced with a choice of who to support Jack went to Kamla Persad-Bissessar instead of his friend and ally, Ramesh.
Panday suggested to the Guardian that what happened on Sunday was not planned, telling the paper he had no control over who attended the meeting.

The Guardian asked Panday the question directly and this was the response quoted in the paper: 

“Back together for what? I’ve indicated I’ll pursue my constitutional reform campaign via my foundation, which I’ll take to communities from January, and I’ve invited everyone to join this. 

“I can’t comment on any further meeting unless invited by the union again. I don’t have a spiteful bone in my body and will speak to anyone who speaks to me. I have no enemies,” he added. (Jack Warner also said he had no spiteful bones but he and Panday drew swords more than once, then came back together)

The Guardian also wanted to know if Panday would contest the post of Chairman in the UNC internal election due early next year.  "I said I’d been inundated with calls to contest, and would if calls are widespread enough and I received assurance of free, fair elections. I haven’t heard anything...I won’t contest a situation in which the results are known beforehand," he stated.

The Guardian also reported that UNC officials said on Tuesday that "there had been talks a few months ago about Panday’s contesting an executive post and/or having one of his relatives brought into Government but no commitment was made." The paper said with recent development of Panday teaming up with Ramesh and Jack there is no chance of such a deal.

He avoided the direct question of whether he wants to remove the UNC from government as stated instead: "I’d like to see the party returned to its pristine glory and once more standing up for principles. People will determine who they want for government," he said, adding that many are dissatisfied with the UNC.

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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