Kamla seeks labour's help in winning election

Days before she unveils her slate of local government candidates, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has extended an olive branch to labour leaders asking them to give her another chance to get into government.

It was through unity with the Labour movement that Persad-Bissessar won elections in 2010 but almost a year later, the Movement for Social Justice pulled out of the People's Partnership.
But speaking at the UNC's forum held at the Gasparillo Secondary School on Tuesday night, Persad-Bissessar said the party was ready for elections and she needed help to win.

"We intend to have all constituency executives sworn in on Monday and we will announce the local government candidates during our Congress meeting this weekend." She said nominations for general elections were now open.

Saying the next few months were critical, Persad-Bissessar explained, "We are close to the end of the term of the PNM. Never let it be said we did not make mistakes. We learnt from them. I renew my oath. Give us the chance to serve and I will restore the damage that they did to our economy. I will bring unemployment down" she vowed.

Despite her fallout with the labour movement, Persad-Bissessar said she as willing to work with labour leaders.

"We will work with the labour movement. We will walk with NGOs and CBOs.  I want to come and meet you. We have ideas and plans. We will come to your communities and draft a policy to rescue TT." 

She added, "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.

 She also said stakeholders and Advocacy Groups will find a friend again in the Government." 

Persad-Bissessar also said the PNM had spent the same amount of money as when the UNC was in office.

"When we demitted office in 2015 the overdraft was $9.7b with the cumulative total at $33.3 billion.

As the end of financial year 2018/2019 under the PNM, the total overdraft has gone to $40.2b with the overdraft for that same year being $13.6 billion," she said.

She noted that the government has threatened to lock up UNC ministers but the only Minister facing charges as their own deputy Marlene Mc Donald.

"That’s funny, the most recent police intervention where corruption is concerned had a PNM Cabinet Minister and Deputy Leader in the spotlight" Persad- Bissessar said.
She also noted that the emailgate scandal was far from over.

"The fabricated emails have already been exposed as utterly false, and Keith Rowley thinks the issue is now closed.
"It is not closed! You call yourself a leader and want this country to think that in your best judgement, emails that were very clearly fake were used as a political tool to unseat a stronger opponent, " she said.
The Opposition leader also said under the PNM the country has suffered and many parents could not afford to buy books.

 "We are calling on the government to ensure that textbooks are in school and laptops were in school, " she added.

Persad-Bissessar called on Rowley to call the elections saying he had failed the people of T&T.

 - by Radhica De Silva

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