It’s a lie! It’s a damn lie!
This is how Vasant Bharath responded to accusations by incumbent United National Congress (UNC) political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar that he had campaigned for the People’s National Movement in the lead-up to the August 10 general election.
Bharath, who is Persad-Bissessar’s sole competitor for leadership of the party in the UNC’s December 6 internal election, held a news conference yesterday at his campaign headquarters in San Juan, where he addressed the issue.
“I want to ask, was Mrs Persad-Bissessar campaigning for the PNM when she was feeding Dr (Keith) Rowley and company. Was she campaigning for the PNM when she took Dr Rowley with her to view Nelson Mandela’s body. And at the time she said ‘in my case I was allowed one person and I chose the leader of the Opposition Dr Keith Rowley to accompany me to South Africa,” he said.
“Why didn’t she ask Basdeo Panday? Why didn’t she ask Jack Warner? Why didn’t she ask Roodal Moonilal? Why didn’t she ask Tim Gopeesingh? It seems the political leader has two tongues, one in her mouth and one in her shoes. We must watch what she does because actions speak louder than words,” Bharath said.
Saying he came from the bowels of Opposition politics, the former member of Parliament for St Augustine added that he was a lifetime member of the UNC and always will be.
“Unlike the very Mrs Persad-Bissessar who was a member of the National Alliance for Reconstruction and fought bitterly against the UNC in 1991, spitting fire and brimstone, calling Mr Panday and our members the worst possible names and losing her deposit in the process. Yes, this same Kamla Persad-Bissessar who pretends to be the saviour of the UNC was only able to muster 2,100 votes for the NAR against the UNC’s 10,400,” Bharath said.
He indicated that Persad-Bissessar is unable to fight the PNM.
“Her public record shows that she has failed miserably in the last ten years and she will continue to do so if given the opportunity,” he said.
“If, as she says, Vasant is to blame for losing the 2020 election, why did she not accept my offer to help the UNC prior to the election? Why did she reject those entrees to her, not just from me but from others to help. But she now comes and says Vasant is to blame for the UNC losing the election. And I dare her to say that no offer was ever made to her,” he added.
Bharath said his decision to join the Prime Minister’s Covid-19 recovery team was done in the national interest.
Irregularities in election process
Bharath went on to accuse Persad-Bissessar of abusing her power in the UNC by creating an election manual to guide her candidates, which he claimed she gave to the elections committee. He said it was interesting that the elections committee has not denied the allegations now in the public domain.
Bharath also accused Persad-Bissessar of abusing party resources. He said the UNC’s Facebook page and the UNC’s Monday night forum are being used “shamelessly” to campaign on behalf of his competitor and her team.
“These are party forums for the benefit of the party and not meant to advance the interest of any one individual,” he pointed out.
Bharath also alleged that the Couva North MP’s staff has been calling UNC members under the auspices of the MP’s office, to determine who members were voting for.
He said this was an abuse of public office which should be strongly condemned.
He said despite the irregularities and lack of integrity in the election process his team will be still contesting the election next month.