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Upset Panday storms out of UNC parliamentary caucus

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad--Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday Wednesday stormed out of the Rienzi Complex, Couva, after he unsuccessfully tried to raise a motion at the party's parliamentary caucus for there to be a public enquiry into the January 24 internal elections which saw his defeat by Siparia MP Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
At approximately 5:20pm loud voices were heard from the closed-door meeting and, a few seconds later, an upset-looking Panday, accompanied by Opposition MPs Subhas Panday, Mickela Panday, Kelvin Ramnath as well as Opposition Senators Adesh Nanan and Mohammed Faisal Rahaman, walked out and entered another room of the complex, where they held discussions for 20 minutes before leaving.
Speaking to the Express last night and asked why he left the meeting, Panday said, "I moved a motion that having regard to all the complaints and irregularities coming out of the internal elections that the caucus agree that we have an enquiry into the elections and Harry Partap, the chairman, refused to entertain the motion. I asked him to have a vote on it and he refused."
Panday said he raised the motion at the caucus because he was not a member of the Executive.
He stressed the need for an enquiry and added that if the Executive does not make any move to do so, he and his supporters would use whatever resources they have to ensure there was one.
Asked if he would attend future parliamentary caucus meetings, Panday said, "I don't see any point. They cannot take any decisions in the absence of Jack Warner. In the absence of Jack Warner, Kamla cannot take any decision."
Warner was out of the country and in his absence Partap chaired the meeting.
Speaking at a press conference following the meeting, Persad-Bissessar said Panday was free to leave if he wanted.
"Mr Panday came and he wanted to move a motion in the caucus that there should be a public enquiry into fraudulent and gross irregularities in the internal elections. The view was taken by some that that was not a matter for the caucus whilst the caucus can note the concerns any issue of an enquiry must be referred to the executive and the caucus did in fact take the decision that the matter be referred to the Executive," she said.
As the newly elected political leader, and Executive member, Persad-Bissessar said that the Executive already decided to look at the irregularities coming out of the internal election.
"At the Executive it was already decided, because many people suffered, this was no one-sided bias, it was everybody who were candidates at election and all those people who couldn't vote. There must be some way that we can find out why. I saw people crying outside those stations, old people, young people, they were so hurt and upset and so yes we will look into that to make sure our party does not subject people to that again, we will," she said.
Panday, however, told the Express that no decision was taken by the Executive and if one was he would have known about it through deputy political leader Roodal Moonilal, the only candidate from Panday's slate who won a place on the Executive.
Questioned on how close she was to getting majority support from MPs with respect to the position of Opposition Leader, Persad-Bissessar said, "The issue was not discussed - I make the point again, I am in no hurry to hound anybody out of office. I can do my job very well as political leader of the party and as a Member of Parliament." (Trinidad Express)
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PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad--Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday Wednesday stormed out of the Rienzi Complex, Couva, after he unsuccessfully tried to raise a motion at the party’s parliamentary caucus for there to be a public enquiry into the January 24 internal elections which saw his defeat by Siparia MP Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

  At approximately 5:20pm loud voices were heard from the closed-door meeting and, a few seconds later, an upset-looking Panday, accompanied by Opposition MPs Subhas Panday, Mickela Panday, Kelvin Ramnath as well as Opposition Senators Adesh Nanan and Mohammed Faisal Rahaman, walked out and entered another room of the complex, where they held discussions for 20 minutes before leaving.

  Speaking to the Express last night and asked why he left the meeting, Panday said, “I moved a motion that having regard to all the complaints and irregularities coming out of the internal elections that the caucus agree that we have an enquiry into the elections and Harry Partap, the chairman, refused to entertain the motion. I asked him to have a vote on it and he refused.”

  Panday said he raised the motion at the caucus because he was not a member of the Executive.

  He stressed the need for an enquiry and added that if the Executive does not make any move to do so, he and his supporters would use whatever resources they have to ensure there was one.

  Asked if he would attend future parliamentary caucus meetings, Panday said, “I don’t see any point. They cannot take any decisions in the absence of Jack Warner. In the absence of Jack Warner, Kamla cannot take any decision.”

  Warner was out of the country and in his absence Partap chaired the meeting.

  Speaking at a press conference following the meeting, Persad-Bissessar said Panday was free to leave if he wanted.

  “Mr Panday came and he wanted to move a motion in the caucus that there should be a public enquiry into fraudulent and gross irregularities in the internal elections. The view was taken by some that that was not a matter for the caucus whilst the caucus can note the concerns any issue of an enquiry must be referred to the executive and the caucus did in fact take the decision that the matter be referred to the Executive,” she said.

  As the newly elected political leader, and Executive member, Persad-Bissessar said that the Executive already decided to look at the irregularities coming out of the internal election.

  “At the Executive it was already decided, because many people suffered, this was no one-sided bias, it was everybody who were candidates at election and all those people who couldn’t vote. There must be some way that we can find out why. I saw people crying outside those stations, old people, young people, they were so hurt and upset and so yes we will look into that to make sure our party does not subject people to that again, we will,” she said.

  Panday, however, told the Express that no decision was taken by the Executive and if one was he would have known about it through deputy political leader Roodal Moonilal, the only candidate from Panday’s slate who won a place on the Executive.

  Questioned on how close she was to getting majority support from MPs with respect to the position of Opposition Leader, Persad-Bissessar said, “The issue was not discussed - I make the point again, I am in no hurry to hound anybody out of office. I can do my job very well as political leader of the party and as a Member of Parliament.” (Trinidad Express)

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