Vasant Bharath and his gullible supporters are contending that Bharath’s election as leader of the UNC will place him in a position to reorganise, revamp and revitalise the UNC into a cohesive and united political force which will place the UNC in a very good position to capture the reins of government in the 2025 general election.

And without blinking an eye they are telling the UNC membership that Kamla Persad-Bissessar could remain as Leader of the Opposition and Bharath could carry on as an effective leader of the UNC in his quest to make the UNC the winning party in the 2025 election.

Every right-thinking and sensible member of the UNC (whether or not they support Persad-Bissessar as the leader of the UNC to take them into government in 2025) knows that having one person as leader of the Opposition (Persad-Bissessar) and another as leader of the UNC (Bharath) is highly unworkable and thus a recipe for disaster and the eventual destruction of the UNC as a political party.

The Leader of the Opposition in Trinidad and Tobago is unusually a potential prime minister in waiting. That person, in order to enjoy the position of primus inter pares, (first amongst equals) as prime minister must be the leader of the party that wins the election.

And the person who is to be appointed Leader of the Opposition must be a member of the House of Representatives who is best able to command the support of the greatest number of the House of Representatives who do not support the government.

For the leader of the Opposition to command the support of the members in the lower house who are not in support of the Government he or she must not only be politically savvy but must possess the wherewithal to persuade them to support him/her. The metaphorical big stick and carrots to win over reluctant members of that House assist in commanding support.

Bharath is not a member of the House of Representative and thus constitutionally he cannot become the leader of the Opposition or prime minister.

The time to contest the leadership of the UNC is not now. The pro-bono advice I dare give to the politically naïve Bharath is to await the 2022 local government election, and if Persad-Bissessar loses ground, then perhaps he will stand some sort of chance in gaining leadership of the UNC and thus influence the selection of candidates for the 2025 general election.

He can catapult himself in a safe UNC seat, for example, St Augustine. And as MP for St Augustine and leader of the UNC he becomes the prime minister of Trinbago if UNC wins the 2025 general election. Is not that your burning ambition, Mr Bharath?

As it now stands, Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC is in strong control of the UNC via the MPs and councillors.

She possesses the metaphorical big stick and the carrots. She is very happy that Bharath is contesting the leadership of the UNC. She can now canvass and campaign to save the UNC from destruction by having a different person as leader of the party and another as leader of the Opposition—the prime minister in waiting.

I dare say to Bharath if there was no contest for leadership of the UNC the turnout of the internal UNC election would be extremely low: and if Persad-Bissessar loses ground in the upcoming local government election in 2022 her position as Leader of the Opposition and prime minister in waiting then becomes shaky. But then again, Bharath will have to “toss-up” with Roodal Moonilal and Jearlean John for the position of leadership of the UNC.

Thus my pro-bono political advice to Mr Bharath is to withdraw from the contest against Persad-Bissessar for leadership of the UNC. You do not stand a snow-ball of a chance in beating her at the internal election.

You should run away from this fight for leadership in order to fight another day. You would destroy your political life in this present battle for leadership and thus end up metaphorically eating dog rice for the rest of your political life.

To me, it appears that you are more of a statesman than a politician.

Politics is not only about who gets what, when, how and why, but the art of timing in the control and acquisition of political power. And in politics nothing succeeds but success.

Mr Bharath, make the sagacious decision of withdrawal from the UNC internal elections and live to politically fight at the appropriate time for leadership.

Israel B Rajah-Khan SC

via e-mail


As it prepares to ramp up its communications to counteract vaccine hesitancy, the Ministry of Health’s best chance for success lies in aligning its messaging to the concerns of its target audience.

With the race now on to get vaccines into arms before the more transmissible Delta variant arrives, it might be too late for crafting a scientifically sound public awareness campaign. Nonetheless, a willingness to listen and learn will go a long way in erasing lingering doubts and changing minds.

I have termed Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and his Finance Minister Colm Imbert the “Diego Martin dinosaurs”, politicians “intellectually fossilised by fossil fuels” who failed to see the global energy revolution threatening the nation’s economy, about which I warned repeatedly for five years.

I got vaccinated last week. I received the first of two doses of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine. I chose the drive-through option at the Ato Boldon Stadium because it is close to my home and I didn’t have to leave the privacy or comfort of my car to queue up at any stage of the proceedings, which is helpful to people who suffer with Parkinson’s and similar neurological disorders.

Once more, the families of seafarers are left to mourn the death of their relatives out at sea. This time the victims are two fishermen who apparently were attacked by pirates.

The incidents of people drowning at sea have become far too prevalent. It is time the authorities make the wearing of life jackets on open vessels mandatory. This would help to save the lives of many people, whether they are fishermen or people on pleasure trips.

Vaccine hesitancy is a delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite the availability of vaccine services.

Vaccine hesitancy is complex and context-specific, varying across time, place and vaccines. It is influenced by factors such as complacency, convenience and confidence.

There is a story about a Samaritan called “good” in the Bible because he did not walk past a suffering Jew. He had no prior relationship with the man lying beaten on the roadside, was not part of his community, yet he acted out of compassion. Giving up his rights and freedom, he helped the man recover and get on with life.