Couva North constituents are not pleased with the decision by the United National Congress (UNC) national executive to replace Ramona Ramdial as the candidate in the 2020 general elections.
The constituents say 40-year-old Ramdial met the requirements to be a part of Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s young slate of candidates as she was experienced and had proven herself.
Ramdial, who replaced Basdeo Panday in 2010, was not selected by the party’s screening’s committee.
She was replaced by Ravi Ratiram.
The Express was told that Ramdial secured “unanimous support” of the UNC Couva North executive and all the UNC party groups in Couva North.
This support, according to constituents, was submitted in writing with accompanying signatures and contact numbers to the UNC when she submitted her nomination form in February.
Endorsement letters were also submitted from NGOs, community groups, sporting groups and religious organizations from the constituency, all asking for Ramdial to continue representing them as MP, the Express was told.
“To the National Executive (NATEX) and screening committee of the UNC, I ask why Ramona Ramdial was removed from the constituency of Couva North in spite of the unanimous request made by the entire UNC Couva North Constituency Executive and all the UNC Couva North party groups,” constituent Terrence Singh said.
The constituents also questioned the purpose of the party’s constituency executives and party groups “if their choice of candidate to represent their own constituency in Parliament is ignored”.
On Thursday, Persad-Bissessar said her team was a diverse mix of the young and the experienced. She said in the world young leaders were stepping up and those opposing her team had no respect for young people.
Persad-Bissessar said the UNC candidates came from modest backgrounds and educated themselves. She said they worked hard for the UNC for years when “opportunists” abandoned the party and now they have been promoted.
“They earned their seats. Post 2015 when the party was abandoned by many opportunists, these people fought alongside me to rebuild our party. I can never forget those who stood by our party in our darkest hours. Loyalty and love of our party must always be cherished,” she said.
Couva North constituency chairman, Orlando Nagassar, said some constituents were disappointed that Ramdial was not selected as the candidate for a third term.
“Some people are very emotional, but since a new candidate was announced the executive of the constituency was in full support of the party’s decision and has been working with Ravi Ratiram. We have an election to win and we are campaigning with the new candidate,” he said.
Following the announcement, Ramdial said she was thankful for the opportunity to serve two terms as the Member of Parliament.
She called on constituents to support the UNC and the new candidate.
“We need to stay united with a clear focus on getting our beloved nation back on the path of safety, security, progress and prosperity. To do this, to save T&T, we must vote out the PNM,” she said.