Statement by Political Leader of the United National Congress (UNC) and Opposition Leader, The Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP on the results of the bye-elections in Belmont East and Barataria on Monday 16th July, 2018
Fellow citizens, today we witnessed yet another demonstration of our collective democratic maturity and yearning for participation in our civic affairs. While we participated in only two bye-elections for electoral districts in the adjoining regional corporations in north Trinidad, clear messages were sent to the major political parties and their leadership today.
We are UNC and proud to be the only of the two major parties growing in widespread popular support outside of our traditional power base.
We are the party to watch as we have increased votes in 16 of the 17 polling divisions with one remaining same. The PNM decreased in 9 polling divisions. We increased our votes by 28% whilst the PNM decreased.
Tellingly, in the Belmont district – once considered the fortress of the unpopular PNM – we increased our votes by 200% whilst the PNM decreased.
Today nowhere is safe for the PNM, we have shown we can find them, match them and beat them in the East, in the West, in the South and in the North.
I thank the high-quality candidates who have offered themselves to the UNC to serve in the corporations. I am grateful to the hundreds of activists and volunteers who came out to walk, give advice, introduce themselves and most importantly, to listen to the people of these areas.
Unlike the PNM, the support we’ve seen in the past few weeks is real – we had you the peaceful and civic-minded citizens who love your country and your community identifying with and supporting the UNC family.
The message sent on Monday is that the people are fed up with the non-performing, incompetent, arrogant, corrupt and clueless government of Keith Rowley!
The Rowley reign of terror on the youth, women, the unsuspecting working class and the business community is coming to an end.
The people are fed up with:
· Rampant crime – murders 305
· High food prices
· Lack of opportunities for decent work
· Rising cost of living
· An ailing health care system
· Reduced quality of education for their children
This Rowley Government is only concerned with taking care of the 1%, their friends and family – they do not care about you.
That the Prime Minister himself spent so much time and energy in these bye-elections and the people turned their collective backs on the PNM suggests that the writing is on the wall. It is clearly a sign that we will be called upon sooner rather than later to return to the polls for a General Election. So keep your yellow T-shirts nice and clean, well folded and pressed!
However, while we look forward to removing this inept Rowley Government and returning good governance to the people of Trinidad and Tobago, I warn all citizens that the PNM is more dangerous when they are wounded as they are now. Their hunger for power and office knows no bounds.
They are desperate and will conspire to undermine our public institutions for political gain. Notice that as the people abandon them, they issue more threats and more warnings. To cover up their incompetence and corruption they will target innocent citizens for unfair persecution and malicious prosecution. They will threaten your leaders and key activists. But do not be deterred – remain focused on the task at hand – ensuring that our country gets a leader and team with the vision and political will to get things done.
Our UNC team of new faces and steady and experienced hands are on standby and high alert to intervene to rescue our nation at a moment’s notice.
Your party has been working, and we are preparing a plan to move Trinidad and Tobago forward.