The UNC National Executive (Natex) is dismissing Chaguanas West Member of Parliament Ganga Singh's claims that the calling of elections for the post of political leader is unconstitutional.
The UNC Natex says it is prepared to respond to any legal challenge brought against it in this regard.
It issued the following statement today:
"The National Executive (Natex) of the United National Congress (UNC) has rejected the concern regarding the party’s upcoming internal election raised by Chaguanas West Member of Parliament Ganga Singh as baseless, frivolous and vexatious.
The Natex responded, through Attorney-at-Law, Douglas C. Bayley, to Mr. Singh by letter dated 27th October, 2017.
In the letter, Mr. Bayley noted that “Whilst your obvious confidence in the political leader which is implicit in your desire to have her serve her full term and remain as the elected political leader of the UNC for an extra year is commendable, your letter is, unfortunately fundamentally flawed, significantly misinformed, and contrary to the concept of participatory democracy which is based on elected leadership with the full confidence of the people.”
“Allowing the rank and file to vote for their Political Leader simply cannot be interpreted as anything more than a bold attempt by the Political Leader to consolidate and strengthen the principles of democracy and fairness within the party,” he stated.
He continued, “That the Political Leader is willing to re-validate her leadership by seeking a fresh mandate from the membership ought to be respected, admired and commended. The criticisms of this brave decision are rooted in political insecurity and weakness, as you are free to contest any position should you so desire.”
Mr. Bayley noted that the Political Leader has voluntarily decided, with the approval of the National Executive of the Party, to put her leadership up for scrutiny and say, “This is what I’ve done, judge me on it, decide if you still want me to lead the party”. “That is the absolute spirt, embodiment, and tenet of democratic rule. That is the essence of a true leader,” he stated.
The Attorney-at-Law noted that it is diametrically opposed to the principles of democracy and cannot be in line with the spirt of the Party for there to exist a bar on the Political Leader being able to offer themselves for re-election.
“The tool of an ‘early election’, which can be proposed by the National Executive, no doubt provides the Party with an unprecedented level of accountability, participatory democracy, and scrutiny against potential dictatorial rule,” he said.
Mr. Bayley outlined the process for holding elections in accordance with the party’s Constitution, reminding Mr. Singh of the aims and objectives of the UNC, which include:
“(i) To provide and/or ensure good government to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
(vi) To foster the ethos, substance and processes of democracy in all spheres and aspects of national life and in particular, to promote the unrestricted freedom of citizens to participate in the choice of their representatives and to encourage the implementation of the principles of economic and industrial democracy and the most widespread ownership of economic assets.
(vii) To struggle against any tendency towards authoritarianism, autocracy and dictatorship and to promote a viable diffusion of centres of power and decision-making as a check against the concentration and abuse of power.
(vii) To promote active citizen involvement at all levels of decision-making as the foundation for a participatory democracy and as a prerequisite for self-reliant development.”
Mr. Bayley noted that the aims and objectives of the UNC as outlined in the Constitution are of moment to the decision to hold the election for the office of Political Leader. He maintained that the National Executive acted in accordance with the Constitution of the Party in holding an election for the office of Political Leader on the 26th November 2017.
“The Natex stands poised, ready, willing and very able to deal with any legal challenge to the process and look forward to receiving any legal proceedings which you may wish to institute so that it can be expeditiously disposed of,” the Attorney-at-Law concluded."