Sunday, March 23, 2014

UNC elections coming soon; Kamla tells party to keep PNM out of government forever

Kamla Persad-Bissessar rallied her UNC troops Saturday, calling on the party to work together to bring victory in 2015. In a speech lasting an hour, she traced the party’s history from the Aranguez Mandate in 1988 to its electoral successes and its present status.

She highlighted some achievements of her government, pointing to some significant gains in the economic sector.

“We have stabilized our economy and just recently our finance minister senator Larry Howai told you about a surplus of $4 billion in the first quarter instead of a projected deficit of nearly $1-billion,” she said, noting that inflation is the lowest it has been in decades and unemployment is at its lowest ever – down to 3.7 per cent.

Persad-Bissessar also talked about major projects in the health sector, including the completion of the Scarborough Hospital and the opening of the Chancery Lane teaching Hospital in San Fernando. “We have never had it so good. And all of it is for you and your children and generations to come,” she said.

“Ask yourself if you want to go back to 2010. Ask yourself if you want to lose all the gains we have made… the pensions, the laptops, the roads and bridges, the hospitals and police stations … we can’t go back!” Persad-Bissessar added.

She urged all UNC activists and members to work as one team to defeat the PNM in 2015. “I want to make it clear that if you allow the PNM to get back in office you will lose every gain we have made,” she said.

“Your children won’t get computers. They (the PNM) will stop the university campus in Debe and the hospitals in Couva and Penal; they will stop building police stations and bring back a blimp to spy on you and listen to your phone calls. All the rural development will stop!...

“And the man who said the Manning government was the most corrupt ever in the history of T&T would embrace the same corrupt politicians and the same failed policies. You must never allow that. Your mission must be to keep the PNM out of government forever,” she declared.

Persad-Bissessar also talked about her party’s internal election, saying that the UNC’s national executive would set a date for that as soon as the party’s new constitution is approved and adopted by the membership. And she said the idea of participatory democracy remains a highlight for her.

“One of the points that we asked our committee to consider was how we can maintain our identity as a political party of the people while working with our partners to occupy common ground to enhance the lives of people across Trinidad and Tobago.

“The mission of such an undertaking is to dispense with the idea of a single party appealing only to its membership but at the same time to maintain the strong UNC identity. The times are too serious for partisan politics. 

“The demographics and social political structure of Trinidad and Tobago have changed; no party that appeals to a single base – be it ethnic or otherwise – can expect to win an election....It is a divisive formula that segregates the country and creates different classes of citizens.

“There is no UNC Trinidad and Tobago; no PNM Trinidad and Tobago; no COP Trinidad and Tobago – just one Trinidad and Tobago where there is room for everyone, where no one is a lesser citizen,” the UNC leader said.

She explained why her coalition has worked well for the benefit of Trinidad and Tobago. “When we gathered as a political family we had differences, as all families do. We argued and fought. But in the end we made collective decisions for the benefit of the people – all of the people. That is what democracy is all about. That is what I promised and that is what I have delivered.”

She also renewed a pledge she made in 2013, for a national conversation initiative, which she said is coming.

“It is to hear from you so we can adjust our policies and programmes to fit YOUR needs because YOU are the government. We hold office at your pleasure and it is our duty to develop our country for you, your families and generations to come,” Persad-Bissessar declared.

“But our work is just starting. We cannot fix decades of neglect in the short space of one term," she added. Persad-Bissessar added that she would serve the people for five more years “and then pass the torch to whomever you determine is the best person to carry on the UNC legacy of service to the people.”

“So let us work together for the next few months and win again so together we can build a first world country where all of us would enjoy the benefits of a booming economy.

“Let us defeat crime and put the gangs and gang leaders out of business. Let us build a just society where each of us would be equal, where no one would be denied the opportunity to grow and blossom, where everyone would be free, and free from fair.

“All of this is possible. You have seen the results of our first four years. You would be amazed of what we will achieve in five more.”

She added, "All I ask is that you believe … and that you join me in the service of Trinidad and Tobago...So let us put God in front and pledge to stand as the UNC army in defence of Trinidad and Tobago … standing up or all the people of our beloved and blessed country."

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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