Trinidad's opposition leader wants united front to remove PNM from power

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According to CANA, the leader of the main opposition United National Congress (UNC), Kamala Persad Bissessar, is calling for a united front in a bid to remove the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) from power in the next general election constitutionally due by December  2020.

Persad Bissessar, who became the Trinidad and Tobago’s first female prime minister in 2010 when her UNC formed a coalition with various opposition parties, the labour movement and non-governmental organisations, acknowledged that her People’s Partnership administration had made mistakes “along the way’ before it was removed from office in 2015.

Speaking at a UNC public forum on Local Government in Tabaquite in Central Trinidad on Tuesday night, Persad Bissessar urged supporters to “make me your prime minister again and I give you the assurance, in the presence of God, and the people, that I will repair the damage done by the (PNM) government and restore us to the right direction”.

“I know that is a tall order, but unlike the charlatans now warming seats in the government, or in a police station somewhere,  I take on challenges and take responsibility. Just as I did before, crime will come down and security will be restored.”

The UNC leader promised that unemployment will come down and “people will have jobs they want, in sectors they thrive in, with access to training that will secure their success”.

She said that the labour movement “will no longer see itself as an outsider to leadership in how our nation grows and evolves; we will learn from the past and we will do better”.

The Movement for Social Justice (MSJ), whose membership includes many trade unionists, left the coalition in 2012, amid concerns that the labour movement was being marginalised by the administration.

In her address on Tuesday night, Persad Bissessar said also that “stakeholders and advocacy groups will find a friend again in the government, one who will not simply say yes for the cameras and then fail to follow through.

“In this friend, you will have someone who will listen, ask questions, and continuously create ways for all interests in our nation to find common ground. My friends, make me your prime minister again and I will govern for all the people of this country…equitably, fairly and justly,” she said, announcing that the party was accepting nominations for candidates to contest the general election.

She said that the government under Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley had brought the country to ruin, with high unemployment, allegations of corruption and mis-management, but added “all is not lost”.

“We must save Trinidad and Tobago from the PNM, and together, we will save Trinidad and Tobago from the PNM. It will not be an easy fight, but when something is worth fighting for, it is the people of Trinidad and Tobago who must always prevail,” she told supporters.

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