The United National Congress (UNC) has decided to keep Couva North candidate Ravi Ratiram despite scandalous allegations against him.
There seems to be musical chairs in the UNC.
After senior party sources told the media this morning that Ratiram was removed and replaced with attorney Rishi Triparthi, in strange twist Ratiram showed up this morning to file his nomination papers which were approved.
Asked about the allegations, the UNC’s political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said Ratiram would be the candidate and whoever was making allegations against him should take it to the police.
Persad-Bissessar said she was not aware of anyone else affiliated with the UNC filing nominations papers.
Speaking in Penal where she filed nominations papers, Persad-Bissessar said "I am the leader of this party, I am also the head of the party's screening committee. I have no knowledge of what you are speaking about. The candidate for Couva North is Ravi Ratiram. If there are allegations take it to the police. If you have any issues against him that are illegal, take it to the police."
The UNC has however replaced its Lopinot Bon Air/ West candidate -Triston Bonterre III a few days ago.
Persad-Bissessar said Bonterre "came to the party and said he wanted to withdraw for personal reason and we accepted".
Bonterre was replaced with Prakash Williams - a retired secondary school principal, a director at the Eastern Regional Health Authority, a community activist and a karate instructor.
The Express learnt that UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar raised the issues with both candidates and gave them the opportunity to defend themselves.
Another surprise on the eve of nomination day was a declaration by former People's Partnership Government Minister Jack Warner, 77, will be contesting the Lopinot/Bon Air West seat on an Independent Liberal Party (ILP) ticket.
In 2013 Warner resigned as national security minister following a CONCACAF report which implicated him and his one-time ally Chuck Blazer as being “fraudulent in their management” of CONCACAF.
He then founded the ILP.
A press release on Thursday stated Warner will host a press conference today at 3 p.m. where he will explain his reasons for his return.
In September 2019 Warner had told the Express that Trinidad and Tobago will see his return to the political landscape.
“One thing I do know. I will not stay quiet...There is a large group of people who will not vote and what you have to do is to tap into those and I tell you in a matter of days if not weeks there will be a new political paradigm put out there to give people some hope and I don’t mean necessarily a political party either,”
Warner created history in contesting the Chaguanas West by election in 2013 under the ILP securing 12,642 votes, defeating the UNC’s Khadijah Ameen, who got 5130 votes.
However, he lost the seat to Ganga Singh in the 2015 general election.